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GEORGE'S 

Park Street, Bristol 



DUKE 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 



Treasure 7(gom 



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Mi 



THE ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



Pallida Mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas 
Regumque turres. Hor, Lib. I. Od. 4. 

With equal Pace, impartial Fate 

Knocks at the Palace, as the Cottage Gate. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 with funding from 
Duke University Libraries 



http://archive.org/details/englishdanceofde01comb 




E^SMSir^ ^ 




Faf.li.da *Mors a>auo piri.jat' pedc pauptfwm tabf/nas, 
liegumque turre.js **f Ifor.ZihI. Off. 4-. — 




London*. Pi/Mt. tftrdM/irrfi t ur/A fyfiutd* rnnann fOiStea/uf 



THE ENGLISH 
DANCE OF DEATH 

FROM THE DESIGNS OF 
THOMAS ROWLANDSON 



WITH METRICAL ILLUSTRATIONS 

BY THE AUTHOR OF 

* DOCTOR SYNTAX' 



VOLUME 



A NEW EDITION 



METHUEN AND CO. 

LONDON 

1903 



NOTE 



'"THIS Issue is founded on the original 
Edition published by R. Ackermann 
in the year 1815 



ADVERTISEMENT 

The Dance of Death is a Subject so well 
known to have employed the Talents of dis- 
tinguished Painters in the Ages of Superstition, 
that little is required to recall it to the Recollection 
of the Antiquary, the Lover of the Arts, and the 
Artist. 

Holbein is more particularly recorded as having 
employed his Pencil in a Work of this Kind ; 
but, without entering into a Detail of those 
Masters who have treated the Subject of the 
Dance of Death, the present Object is merely 
to attract the public Attention to the Subject 
itself. — Few Remains are now visible of the 
Original Paintings which represented it; but they 
have been perpetuated by the more durable Skill 
of the Engraver, and the Volumes which contain 
them in the latter Form, are to be found on the 
Shelves of the learned and curious Collector. — 



VI ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

The Subject is the same in them all; but varied 
according to the Fancy of the Painters; or, 
perhaps, from local Circumstances attached to the 
Places which they were respectively intended to 
decorate. — The predominant Feature is, without 
Exception, the Representation of one or more 
Skeletons, sometimes, indeed, in Grotesque Atti- 
tudes, and with rather a Comic Effect, conducting 
Persons of all Ranks, Conditions and Ages, to 
the Tomb. 

Mr. Rowlandson had contemplated the Subject 
with the View of applying it exclusively to the Man- 
ners, Customs, and Character of this Country. — 
His Pencil has accordingly produced the Designs, 
which, in the Order they were delivered to me, I 
have accompanied with Metrical Illustrations : a 
Mode of proceeding which has been sanctioned by 
the Success of our joint Labours in the ' Tour of 
Doctor Syntax? The First Volume therefore of 
the English Dance of Death, which has appeared 
in Twelve successive Numbers, is now presented 
to the Public in a collected Form. The Second 
Volume will follow in the same mode of Publica- 



ADVERTISEMENT Vll 

tion. Though the Name and Tenour of the Work 
is borrowed, it may, perhaps, be allowed some 
Claim to local and characteristic Originality. The 
most serious Subject attached to our Nature is, 
indeed, presented with a Degree of familiar Plea- 
santry which is not common to it : — But, in this 
Particular, the Example of the Painters who first 
suggested and propagated the Idea has been fol- 
lowed, and no other Vivacity has been displayed 
in these Pages, than has been found on the Walls 
of Edifices dedicated to Religion ; and was thus 
represented in the Cloisters of St. Paul's, before 
the sacrilegious Pride of the Protector Somerset 
caused the Dilapidation of that Appendage to the 
Metropolitan Church of the Kingdom. — But I am 
not afraid of being accused by reflecting Minds, 
of having introduced an unbecoming Levity into 
the following Pages: for that Writer may surely 
claim the Approbation of the grave and the good, 
who familiarises the Mind with Death, by con- 
necting it, in any way, with the various Situations 
and Circumstances of Life. 

THE AUTHOR 



TIME AND DEATH 
AN INTRODUCTORY DIALOGUE 

DEATH 

1 Father Time ! 'tis well we are met : 
I am dispos'd to fume and fret, 
To see that mortals have the power 
Thus to prolong Life's fleeting hour ; 
To see them thus display the art 
That blunts my unavailing dart ; 
And, though the fatal arrow 's sped, 
To make men live when they are dead : 
While you with placid eye look on, 
Nor blame the mischief that is done : 
Nay, suffer the records to last 
When many an age is gone and past. 
You, in your motions, are so slow, 
With such a measur'd step you go, 
vol. i. — A 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

That were it not for sword and fire, 
Earthquakes, and storms and tempests 

dire, 
Temples and towers of ancient days 
Would now their perfect structures raise. 
Nay, still the Antiquarian's toil 
Digs deep for Greek and Roman spoil, 
In Desolation's arid fields 
The perforated cavern yields 
The vase, the statue, and the bust, 
Rais'd from th' accumulated dust. 
Thus, 'neath the modern dome appears 
The treasures of far distant years, 
Which, by their various forms impart 
A blended grace to modern art. 
So idly you your power employ, 
That art restores what you destroy. 
— 'Tis true, you thin the flowing hair, 
And pluck the brow 'till it is bare : 
You, by degrees, can mark the face 
With your own venerable grace, 
And tell the weaken'd form to bend 
As it draws near its journey's end. 
— But if nor pain, nor sickness aid, 
Nor rending care the heart invade, 
Your progress is so slowly made, 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

That all too late Man's made to feel 
The stroke of my impatient steel : 
So that I 'm courted to attend 
The old man's death-bed as a friend ; 
When, my stern purpose to revile, 
Departing Nature beams a smile. 
— I love dispatch, I strike at once 
The wit, the wise, the fool, the dunce : 
The steel-clad soldier, stout and bold, 
The miser, with his treasur'd gold ; 
The studious sage, and matron grave, 
The haughty noble, and the slave. 
I strip, with unrelenting paw, 
The ermine from the man of law ; 
Disrobe the prelate of his lawn, 
And dim with clouds the op'ning dawn 
Of Beauty's charms : I drink the tear 
.That drops upon the early bier : — 
Nor spare I Tenderness or Truth, 
The hoary head, th' ingenuous youth ; 
And Vice and Virtue ever prove 
An equal doom with Hate or Love. 
I seize the victor in his car, 
Encircled with the spoils of war : 
Unmov'd by power, unaw'd by state, 
I strike the monarch's guarded gate, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And in that very hour invade 

The cot beneath the elm-tree's shade. 

I by one fatal word, can dry 

The streaming tears of Misery, 

Or stop their loud, promiscuous laugh, 

Who the rich midnight goblet quaff. 

But all this power contents me not, 

When the man dies, his name should rot 

Nor with surviving fame defy 

The arm by which all mortals die. 

To Egypt's beauteous Queen I bore 
The worm with fig-leaves cover'd o'er, 
Whose venom'd weapon did impart 
Its fatal moisture to her heart. 
But still she lives in prose and song, 
Her bark still glides the waves among : 
Still are its purple sails unfurl'd 
To woo the man who shar'd the world. 
— When my hand seiz'd young Ammon's 

sword, 
And from the earth bore off its Lord, 
I could not stifle his renown, — 
I could not blast the laurel crown 
Wove by the cunning hands of Fame, 
To consecrate the victor's name. — 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Such when his glorious life is done, 
Will be the meed of Wellington : 
He will my envious power defy, 
And leave a name that ne'er shall die. 



It is, Old Time, so long ago 
Since my spear laid those monarchs low, 
To dignify whose cold remains 
The pyramids oppress'd the plains, 
That no memorial is supplied, 
Of who they were, and when they died : 
But still these structures mock the sky, 
And your submissive power defy. 
Thus Art contrives, we feel it true, 
To laugh at me — and baffle you. 
— These carving, painting, writing fellows, 
I own it, make me very jealous. 
Behold this host of antique elves 
Who range along the crowded shelves, — 
They represent the king, the sage, 
The great and good of ev'ry age ; 
The wise and weak of ev'ry time, — 
And villains nurs'd in ev'ry clime : 
See with what pride these artists shew 'em, — 
Let loose your scythe, old Boy, and mow 'em. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Be, for once, active in your trust, — 
Breathe, — and corrode them into dust. 
I 've no dominion o'er the page 
That makes men live from age to age ; 
Nor can destroy his marble form 
Who long since fed the hungry worm. 
Could I, — no name should ever bloom, 
Or on the page, or on the tomb. 
I say, 'tis hard, and still complain, 
That man should die and live again. 
That Art should from Oblivion save 
The mould'ring tenants of the grave : 
That it preserves, in form and feature, 
Whate'er has been a living creature. 

A goldfinch dies, — but what of that? 
Though I inspir'd the savage cat 
To do the deed.— Though Betty 's huff'd 
For want of care, — the bird is stuff' d, 
And on its perch it seems to thrive ; 
Nay, looks as well as when alive. 
'Tis true, I may have spoil'd its note, 
But still the thing preserves its coat. 
— Again, I say, as you must see, 
That Art and Learning both agree, 
To laugh at you, and baffle me.' 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

TIME 

' What, Grisly Shape, do you complain, 
And curse the limits of your reign ? 
You, who can wage continual strife 
With all things that partake of life, 
Lamenting, though your spear is hurPd 
Each moment, through a suffering world? 
You are allow'd the fatal art 
To break a neck or break a heart, 
To let out life as it may suit 
Your savage will — you murd'rous brute. — 
What would you more ? — you hourly meet 
The funeral trains in ev'ry street ; 
And stately mausoleums rise 
As altars for your sacrifice. 
More do you want ? — then take a dance 
Among the blood-stain'd fields of France : 
Ask Revolution how she sped 
With her innumerable dead. 
Is not your grasping arm content 
With the whole bleeding Continent? — 
Could YOU your frantic wish enjoy, 
The world itself you would destroy : 
Creation's bounds you would bestride, 
And be yourself a Suicide. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

More calmly then, pursue your trade, 
Take up the mattock and the spade ; 
Heap dust on dust, add grave to grave, 
Forget to fume, and fret, and rave ; 
And tune the burthen of the song — 
" That life is short — but Art is long." 
While you grin o'er the page before you, 
You know you cannot touch the story ; 
Nor can you shove into a hearse 
The Heav'n-born Bard's inspired verse : 
You may, from mere resentment, kill 
Th' unconscious Painter, if you will ; 
Yet, with his Work, his Name shall live, 
And share the praise that Time can give. 
The sculptur'd forms that stand around, 
By my preserving spells are bound. 
So 'tis arrang'd by that decree 
Whose law commands both YOU and ME 
Cease then, I pray you, to complain, 
Your Lamentations all are vain. 
— You 've told me in what feats you shine, 
And now you will attend to mine. 



'Tis I who to the human race 
Give the immeasurable space, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH < 

Which from the sera of my birth, 

Form'd the vast scene of man on earth ; 

And will, in order due, extend, 

Till the vast scene of man shall end. 

My course is regular and quiet, 

I make no noise, I breed no riot. 

Indeed, where'er my scythe appears, 

It mows down days, and months, and years, 

But 'tis a tranquil, silent deed; 

And other days and years succeed. 

I sometimes wear a wintry robe, 

And, in dark mantle, clad the globe : 

But, do I ever fail to bring 

The fragrant zephyrs of the Spring ? 

The bounteous Summer next succeeds, 

And the Autumnal vintage bleeds. 

Thus through the year I bless the eye 

With infinite variety. 

My office, sometimes, may annoy, 

But I ne'er hurry to destroy : 

I on my well-pois'd wings attend, 

And wait for Nature's ling'ring end. 

May not I boast that I give birth 

To all that decorates the earth ; 

And, with renewing charm, supply 

The waste of all beneath the sky ? 



10 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Old age, the common eye will scan 

In meaner things as well as man : 

But, when the antique turrets fall, 

When the storm shakes the mould'ring wall, 

I leave the venerated place 

For modern art and skill to grace ; 

And make the wond'ring plain admire 

The stranger forms and new attire. 

'Tis true, destruction I employ, — 

But I preserve e'er I destroy. 

When you, and your twin-brother Care, 
A life prolong'd to mortals spare, 
You say, I wrinkle o'er the cheek, 
And make the pate so smooth and sleek : 
But that is Wisdom's garb, and wore 
By Nestor sage in days of yore : 
Nay, as your ghastly eyes may see, 
'Tis worn, you scraggy Shape, by me. 
If Sickness hastens the decline 
Of fading life, if pains combine, 
They are your ministers — not mine. 
I lead by slow and mild decay : 
'Tis you that interrupt the way. 
You force the youth in vernal bloom, 
To seek the Winter of the tomb. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH II 

Life left to me, through ev'ry stage, 

Would pass from infancy to age : 

Its flame — the Climacteric past, 

Would in the Socket sink at last ; 

But know, our final hour will come, 

And WE shall share a common doom : 

When, in the world's last hurricane, 

My pennons broad I flap in vain ; 

And you shall ghastly grin and shiver, 

With not an arrow in your quiver ; 

Then mortals, mortal then no more, 

Shall to empyreal regions soar : 

Then TIME shall end— and DEATH shall 

die, 
And MAN quaff Immortality.' 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 3 






THE ANTIQUARY'S LAST WILL 
AND TESTAMENT 

— { Well, I am going, (JFungug said,) 
As Lawyer §12 approach'd the bed : 
I 'm drawing to the close of life, 
And, as I 've neither child nor wife, 
I am just turning o'er my will, 
And wish to add a codicil ; 
For I have sundry treasures rare, 
Which are not yet recorded there; 
And, as I soon shall cease to breathe, 
I wish some relics to bequeath, 
To those who will their value own 
When life is past, and I am gone : 
So take your pen, prepare to write ; 
And, as I dictate — you indite. — 

To my old friend §ir (ZEtomunU ©lurnfe, 
I leave the Eighth King Harry's Thumb : 
Tis well preserv'd ; — in gold 'tis set, 
At top and bottom tipp'd with Jet ; 



14 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And I can prove, by word and date, 
And other documents of weight, 
That eTromtoell, for he oft abus'd it, 
As a Tobacco-stopper us'd it. 
— And, as my friend shall thus employ 
This little, antique curious Toy ; 
As he its form must daily see, 
He'll think it says — "Remember me." 



— To Horace Dactyl, next I give, 
As soon as I shall cease to live, 
The Lock of Hair which caused the strife 
That Pope has painted to the Life. 
Sailing aloft in Fancy's car, 
His Muse has changed it to a star ; — 
But I know better — don't reveal it : — 
I brib'd the Lady's Maid — to steal it : 
And in that Cabinet it lies, 
A precious gem to Poet's eyes. 
But though, as Antiquarian Fare, 
It will not any value bear ; 
For not a century has sped, 
Since it adorn'd a lady's head : 
Yet to the Muse 'tis ever dear, 
This Lock the Bard will long revere ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And thus it is that I bestow it : — 
'Cause Horace £>act#I, is a Poet. 



I give the Cushion, finely scroll'd, 
With faded flowers and tarnish'd gold, 
Whose rich embroidery was plann'd 
And work'd by &nna 'Bolepn'tf hand ; 
From which her prayers did Heav'n invoke, 
Before the Headsman gave the stroke, — 
To my good maiden cousin Kate, 
Who loves to be devout in state ; 
So that, hereafter, she '11 be seen 
To say her prayers like any Queen. 



The Shuttle-cock, which oft amus'd 
The ^cotttei? JElarp, when accus'd 
Of treas'nous plots, of many a wile, 
And did ,the heavy hours beguile, 
As within Fotheringay's towers 
She pass'd the sad and ling'ring hours, 
I to my Mtpt)t\jo ©lawful leave, 
The Battledore I also give ; 
For well I know there is but one : 
Indeed, 'twere best, as could be shewn, 
That he should play the Fool, alone. 



l6 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

There 's Turpirts bones well put together, 
Which many a year withstood the weather, 
As on a Gibbet's height they hung, 
And, when the wind blew briskly, swung. 
Tis now a century ago 
Since this same Knight work'd mickle woe, 
On certain folks that go abroad, 
And travel on a public road. 
These he had got a way to frighten, 
And of their cash and watches lighten ; 
But having ventur'd on the Mail, 
His fortune then began to fail. 
Tyburn, at length, his triumphs ended 
On Hounslow Heath to be suspended 
In time the iron chains gave way, 
And to preserve him from decay, 
I had the unsettled bones new set, 
And plac'd them in my Cabinet. 
This curious Skeleton I leave, 
If he will my bequest receive, 
To my Friend &H*0op, who, as Mayor, 
Will one day fill the City Chair : 
And such a paunch he doth unfold, 
As largest barrow could not hold. 
This Legacy I do commend, 
In the true spirit of a Friend ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 7 

That it may this good lesson tell, 
To one I Ve known so long — so well. — 
11 Though you for years, that Carcase line,' 
" Though ev'ry day on dainties dine : 
" And crack your jokes, and drink your 

wine. 
" Though you 're so fat — you '11 one day 

see 
" Yourself, good Sir, as thin as me; 
" And, all your joyous banquets past, 
11 A shape, like mine, you'll have at last." 

— A Bull's Horn full six feet in measure, 
A unique thing — a perfect treasure, 
Nam'd, by Antiquarians sage, 
The growth of a far distant age ; 
Nay, 'tis by many understood, 
To 've been a Horn before the flood. 

— I give it but I can't proceed, 

Howe'er important be the deed, 

I 'm so fatigu'd and full of pain : 

To-morrow, Hatoper, call again. 
— In reading, some relief I ? 11 seek, 
For 'tis a trouble now to speak. 
— Holla ! holla there ! — much I fear 
My voice will never make them hear : 

VOL. I.— B 



1 8 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Nor have I strength to pull the bell, 

To call up Jonathan, to tell 

That Hatoger %>lv has been so nimble, 

As to slip on Queen Mary's thimble : 

And he has managed to purloin 

A velvet purse and all its coin ; 

So wrought, and of such ancient date, 

That they are ten times worth their weight. 

Most surely, at to-morrow's meeting, 

A Constable shall give him greeting. 

Indeed, I wish that I were hurl'd, 

At once, out of this pilf 'ring world. 

I can't stay long, and if 'twere now ' 

— When Deatfj appear'd, and made his Bow. 

Old jfungu0 lifted up his eye, 

And saw the Grisly Spectre nigh. 

' I 'm not alarm'd, (he calmly said,) 

I do not your approach upbraid : 

But look not quite so fierce, I pray. 

At least, for one half-hour stay. 

— A thing or two, I wish to know, 

So tell me now, before I go : — 

You liv'd in fam'd Deucalion's time, 

When this old world was in its prime. 

Say, in those days did men grow bolder, 

And o'er top us by head and shoulder? 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 19 

Or did those antiquated people 
Grow up as tall as modern steeple ? 
Besides, my Mill does not make out, 
It is a matter still of doubt, 
Whether I '11 be like Roman burn'd 
Or to Egyptian mummy turn'd : 
For I 'm determin'd, thou Barbarian ! 
When dead — to be an Antiquarian.' 
' Prepare, (cried IDeati),) I cannot stay, 
I have ten thousand kill'd to-day ; 
And when your small concern is o'er, 
I shall slay full ten thousand more.' 

' I know, dread Sir, (it was replied) 
That you are seldom satisfied. 
If so impatient, kill the Cat : 
She has nine lives — remember that ; 
At least, nine minutes you '11 employ, 
Her, and her nine lives to destroy ; 
And while Grimalkin you bespatter, 

I '11 settle this important matter.' 
But £>eati> pois'd high the fatal dart, 
And aim'd it at the old man's heart. 

* I ; 11 not be burned then,' jf unguis cries, 

I I '11 be a Mummy — yes ' and dies. 



20 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE LAST CHASE 

When the fair morn begins to break, 
From their short sleep the Hunters wake : 
In hope elate, in spirits gay, 
They to the woodlands haste away • 
And, as they chearful pass along, 
Make the hills echo with their song. 

SONG 

No life 's like the Hunters', no joy like the sport, 

No pleasures like those of the Chase : 
We envy not such as are dangling at Court 

For some fid-faddle pension or place. 
To the summit of grandeur the proud man may 
rise, 

The miser may revel in wealth : 
While the Chase we pursue, gives constant 
supplies 

Of good-fellowship, gladness and health. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 21 

As the stout pack we follow each trouble of life 

Is forgotten and left far behind : 
We know not the names of Contention and Strife, 

And cast all our cares to the wind. 
We breathe the keen air, mount the hill, sink the 
dale, 

While the swift-flying game is in view : 
Nor think, for a moment, our pleasures can fail, 

And laugh at old Death and his crew. 

But Death, who happen'd to be there, 
For that same Power is ev'rywhere, 
Ordered his palfry to be brought ; 
When He, th' unconscious Hunters sought ; 
And, as they carroll'd on their way 
The expected triumphs of the day, 
The wily Archer lurk'd unseen, 
To watch them through the forest green ; 
And waited for the appointed place 
To wield his dart, and shew his face. 



But now behold the sport begin !- 
To the loud Hunters' cheering din- 
To the hounds' animating cry 
The hills and dales and woods reply. 



22 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

The Deer, unharbour'd from the brake, 
Does, from his sides, the dew-drops shake ; 
And, springing from his leafy bed, 
Tosses aloft his branchy head : 
Makes a short, fearful pause, to hear 
The dreadful concert in his rear : 
Then, o'er the lawn he swiftly flies, 
And to the distant covert hies. 
Poor fugitive, he flies in vain, 
Or through the wood, or o'er the plain ; 
Shoots down the steep, or skims the vale ; 
For still the alarming sounds prevail. 
The cunning pack, to Nature true, 
With certain steps his flight pursue. 
As the scent more familiar grows, 
With livelier force their ardor glows : 
The Hunters cheer along the glade, 
And vocal is the Sylvan shade. 
On some high brow he turns to view, 
As his sides pant, the clam'rous crew : 
Now joins the herd, where late he reign'd, 
And all a monarch's rights maintain'd ; 
But when they see him press'd with woe 
No more their former Lord they know ; 
But from his danger quickly fly, 
Or drive him to his destiny. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 23 

He now, half-spent, regains the wood, 
Or plunges in the running flood : 
Each brake he tries, and traces o'er 
Those haunts he knew so well before, 
Where he had led the herd to graze 
In better times, and happier days ; 
When Peace beam'd o'er the Sylvan reign, 
Nor hounds nor horns disturb'd the plain. 
What shall he do, or whither fly ; — 
His strength is gone — the foe is nigh : 
He lifts his weary limbs with pain, 
That scarce their tott'ring load sustain. 
One effort more in vain he tries, — 
The hounds o'ertake him — and he dies. 
The horns breathe forth the plaintive strain, 
Whose notes proclaim — 'The deer is slain.' 



Death follow'd on his courser pale, 
Up the steep hill, or through the dale ; 
But, 'till the fatal hour drew nigh, 
He veil'd himself from ev'ry eye. 
'Twas then his horrid shape appear'd, 
And his shrill voice the Hunters heard : 
With his fell dart he points the way, 
Th' astonish'd Hunters all obey ; 



24 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Nor can they stop the Courser's speed, 
Nor can they shun the deadly deed ; 
But follow, with impetuous force, 
The potent Phantom's mortal course 

Down the steep cliff. The Chase is o'er- 

The Hunters fall — to rise no more. 



Thus 'tis with man : whate er his views, 
Whate'er the game that he pursues ; 
Whether he seeks th' Imperial sway, 
Whose sceptre myriads obey; 
Or strives to place the glitt'ring plume 
Of martial glory on his tomb ; 
Or, to attain the golden store, 
Does distant seas and realms explore ; 
Courts ev'ry toil, and thinks it sweet 
To eat the bread, the careful eat ; 
Or yields to Passion's stormy power, 
Or basks in Virtue's sunshine hour : — 
Whether the Mausoleums rise, 
Whose pinnacles assail the skies, 
And to far distant times proclaim 
The honour of a Patriot's name : — 
What though the Cypress' mournful shade 
Darkens the spot where Beauty 's laid ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 25 

Or the clear verdure of the sod 
Protects the Peasant's last abode ; 
Still Fate pursues— still mortals fly, 
The chase continues till they die. — 
Howe'er they live, where'er they fall, 
Death — Mighty Hunter — earths them all ! 






26 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE STATESMAN 

It is not wealth, it is not power 
Can give to Life a ling'ring hour : 
When Death commands, whose potent sway 
All creatures that have life obey, 
Monarchs must lay their sceptres down, 
And yield the splendour of a crown ; 
For ever quit the suppliant crowd, 
And change the purple for a shroud : 
To-day, the victor laurels bloom, 
To-morrow — wither on the tomb ; 
Ambition, from its tow'ring height, 
Sinks to the shades of endless night : 
The Miser counts his treasure o'er, 
Then goes to rest — to wake no more. 
When ebbing Life begins to fail 
The rosy cheek of youth grows pale ; 
Dimm'd is the lustre of the eye, 
And set the teeth of ivory. 
What, though we reach the heights of Fame, 
Or boast of Honour's proudest name : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 2^ 

What, though the minstrel pleasures wait 
With tuneful accents at our gate ; 
Though to Parnassian height we soar, 
Or dive profound in Learning's lore, 
Fate hovers o'er Life's varied throng, 
And dust to dust concludes the song. 
'Tis then, that Vice appall'd, dismay'd, 
At Death's impenetrable shade, 
Would give its all, if that could save, 
From the deep horrors of the grave. 
'Tis then, that Virtue rides sublime 
Above the misty scenes of Time : 
'Tis then, the sainted spirit flies 
To happier climes, and purer skies. 



* Statesman, awake thee from the dream 
Of boundless wealth, of power supreme : 
For know, proud man ! that I am come 
To call thee to thy destin'd home : 
To bid thee quit thy gorgeous state, 
And yield thee to the will of Fate.' 

Thus whisper'd Death, as he was seen 
To peep behind the gilded screen, 
With all the well-bred etiquette 
Claim'd by a great man's Cabinet. 



28 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

The Statesman shudder'd with affright 
When he beheld th' unwelcome sprite : 
But, soon recovering, thus address'd, 
The Fears and Wishes of his breast. 



* I know thee well ; and that 'tis vain 
To strive thy purpose to restrain, 
By any pow'r that Time can give : 
But still it is my wish to live, 
And when my reasons I impart, 
You may, perhaps, withdraw your dart. 
So that you fill your murd'rous hour, 
It boots not whether men in pow'r, 
Or their vile Lacquies are your prey : 
When dead — no better we than they. 
For once, dread Sir, the great man spare, 
And take the rogue behind his chair : 
Nay, I would thank you, as you 're able, 
To sweep those Messieurs from the table 
For, in their bosoms may be found 
Things that were better under ground. 
If I 'm to live, 'twere just as well 
That there should be no tales to tell ; 
Besides, if you will deign to hear, 
I '11 to your int'rest make it clear 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 29 

That, if you bring me to my end, 
You '11 lose a very useful Friend. 

Money, that forms the potent bribe 
For the world's mercenary tribe, 
From North to South, from East to West, 
Man's cherish'd and most welcome guest ; 
Whose hope doth ev'ry heart pervade, 
Of Time the universal Trade ; 
Though lov'd while Life retains its breath, 
Cannot arrest the hand of Death. 
Did I the mines of Chili hold, 
Or rivers rich in flowing gold, 
The glitt'ring offer would be vain : 
Vou would the splendid boon disdain. 
Here am I sending off supplies, 
To purchase Friends and quicken Spies ; 
But Death I cannot subsidize. 
A nation's treasures I controul, 
Of an Exchequer's wealth the soul; 
But 'tis not by such petty dealing 
I can awake your nobler feeling : 
To your Ambition I apply 
To speak these words — " Thou shalt not die : 
" I HI check the purpose of my spear, 
" And leave you to a future year " 



30 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Since I have held the scales of power, 
From the first moment to this hour. 
My Policy's commanding word 
Unsheath'd the necessary sword ; 
And Battle, by my councils led, 
Beholds the bleeding heaps of dead. 
I 've check'd th' ignoble cry of Peace, 
And thus your gloomy realms increase ; 
While daily Mausoleums rise 
As altars for your sacrifice. 
Strike me — and some weak, timid fool, 
May, by mischance, be call'd to rule : 
Who will not dare to mount the car, 
And call a Nation's sons to war. 
Your banquet is th' embattled plain, 
There the prime glories of your reign. 
— Vain is, I know, the loaded coffer : 
War is the bribe I have to offer. 



Like all, whom Fortune has made great, 
I wish to keep th' important seat ; 
Nay, I confess, it is my plan 
T enjoy the good things while I can, 
And much I strive to shape my station 
To the good wishes of the nation : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 3 1 

Nor do I want the proper tools 

To baffle knaves and govern fools. 

I well know how to suit the case 

To please his Lordship, or his Grace. 

A title here, a pension there, 

A ribband, or a velvet chair : 

A taper wand, or some such thing, 

Will most men to my purpose bring. 

The views of my aspiring soul 

Have not yet reach'd the wish'd for goal. 

Much added greatness I 've in view, 

And many a stately thing to do : 

Nor have I yet enroll'd my name 

In the bright register of Fame : 

Nor are my schemes for public glory 

Matur'd to shine in future story. 

The world well knows I 've labour'd hard, 

Nor yet obtain'd my fair reward. 

— To you each secret I reveal : 

The patent has not pass'd the seal, 

Which a new-titled name prepares 

For me, and my ennobled heirs. 

I also mean to build a college 

For the increase of useful knowledge. 

My well-weigh'd plans, my various schemes 

Are not, believe me, idle dreams ; 



32 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And, 'twere a pity thus to spoil 

The blessings of my patriot toil : 

For Power and Wealth, well understood, 

Have such vast means of doing good. 

Then let me stay, till some disaster 

Tells me to quit my Royal Master ; 

Or, till I 'm forc'd, by Party Rage, 

From off the Ministerial Stage ; 

And when my state and power forsake me, 

I 11 thank you, then, to come and take me.' 

' I '11 take you now ! ' — the Spectre said. 

He spoke : — the fatal jav'lin sped.- 

— The Statesman's number'd with the 
dead. 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 33 



TOM HIGGINS 

How few, alas, are to be found 
In this world's ever-varying round, 
Who, to their real interest true, 
Keep that thing, Common Sense, in view. 
How many, by their passions led, 
By some fallacious phantom fed 
With airy hope and empty dream, 
Run on through Life from scheme to scheme ; 
And though they shun the shoals of ruin, 
Though Fortune smiles on all they 're doing, 
Yet find, at last, their time misspent, 
As they have never found Content. 
Though Power and Wealth may be obtain'd, 
It follows not that they have gain'd 
The chearful heart, th' approving hour 
Which far outweigh both wealth and power. 
That Sense which suits the means to ends, 
And keeps our deeds and conscience friends, 
Though sometimes caught in Folly's snare, 
Fails not the error to repair. 
vol. 1.— c 



34 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

It may not make us rich, 'tis true, 
Nor deal out Pomp and Retinue : 
But when it gives food, cloaths and fire, 
Reason will little more require ; 
And, when Time brings us to the last, 
Sheds not a tear on what is past. 



Tom Higgins was a Bricklayer's Lad, 
'Twas the profession of his Dad ; 
And soon he learn'd, with ready art, 
To make the trowel play its part ; 
The lofty ladder would ascend, 
A chimney, or a roof to mend : 
To do his duty was his plan, 
As he grew up to be a man. 
What though he labour'd all day long, 
He cheer'd his labours with a song ; 
And carrol'd forth his tunes so sweet, 
That people listen'd in the street. 
Whatever was the time of day, 
Somewhat he had to sing or say : 
Whate'er he did, where'er he went, 
His words and looks bespoke content ; 
But though he seem'd devoid of art, 
Tom was a knowing one at heart ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 35 

And, taught by oeconomic sages, 
He always sav'd one half his wages. 
Nor did he cease to nurse the notion 
That industry would gain promotion ; 
That, aided by mechanic skill, 
'Twould tempt Dame Fortune to his will. 
His hopes were by such fancies cheer'd : 
For, looking round him, it appear'd 
That men, no better than himself, 
Had gain'd in time large stores of pelf; 
That Bricklayers, Masons and Surveyors, 
Had turn'd to Aldermen and Mayors. 
At length, Tom chang'd his course of life : 
Engag'd in trade, and took a wife. 
By a good character he won 
Papa's consent to be his son ; 
While, by his tunefulness and laughter, 
He gain'd the favour of the daughter. 
Now he no longer was content 
To raise a simple battlement ; 
No longer anxious for the gain 
Of laying brick-work in a drain : 
A more important line he sought : 
Houses he jointly built, and bought ; 
Nay, he had somehow learn'd to waste 
The gay man's wealth in works of taste ; 



36 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

So, that when sixty years had spread 
Their hoary honours on his head, 
As many thousand pounds were known, 
In good Bank-stock, to be his own. 
— But Tom, who as his wealth increas'd 
Might give, but ne'er refus'd a feast, 
Had swell'd his well-lin'd belly out, 
So that he scarce could move about ; 
And one day as he sat and sigh'd 
O'er his protuberance — 'twas replied 
By his kind Spouse, his mind to ease, 
In some such arguments as these. 



' My dearest dear, you well must know, 
That 'tis, at least, five years ago, 
Since I have urg'd you to forbear 
This tiresome life of toil and care. 
Rich beyond what we wish to spend, 
Why strive for more, my good old friend ? 
We have no sons who want our aid, 
To furnish them the means of trade ; 
We have no daughters to demand 
A tempting fortune at our hand : 
Besides, I ask — who are we here ? 
We move but in a common sphere. 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 37 

Let us to House and Lands retire, 
When I a Lady — you a 'Squire, 
May in that fair condition live, 
Which money, sure, was made to give.' 

'Twere needless now, to stop and state 
The progress of this kind debate : 
Where good sense, and good humour meet, 
Contention 's short — Compliance sweet. 
He yielded soon to her desire, 
To house and lands they both retire : 
A Lady she — and he a 'Squire. 
All things arrang'd, the coach-and-four 
Drove from the Town's deserted door ; 
And, with due speed, convey'd them strait, 
Just thirty miles from Hyde-Park gate. 
When they arriv'd, the village crowd 
View'd the new 'Squire, and humbly bow'd. 
He, smiling, bore his weight along, 
And humm'd the burden of a song : 
When Madam, in more stately pace, 
Pass'd on with condescending grace. 
The village bells, in cadence sweet, 
With many a peal th' arrival greet ; 
While the good Vicar and his Spouse 
Receive them at the Manor-house. 



38 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

For the first week or so, the 'Squire 
Did nought but chuckle and admire. — 
The Mansion pleas'd — he hobbled round it ; 
Wind-tight, and water-tight, he found it : 
So well dispos'd in every line, 
It might have been his own design. 
But, he car'd not for fragrant flowers, 
Or rippling brooks or rosy bowers ; 
And for the trees, so finely grown, 
He only wish'd to cut them down. 
But soon, alas, he found it true, 
That he had nothing now to do. 
To eat and drink and smoke and sleep, 
Were all the pleasures he could reap ; 
In short, he soon began to tire 
Of being turn'd into a 'Squire. 
There was no club where folks might prate 
Of passing things, and mend the state : 
No public feasts, where loyal souls 
Might speechify o'er flowing bowls. 
To him it was a perfect labour 
To pay a visit to a neighbour. 
Indeed, so bulky was he grown, 
That he weigh'd five-and-twenty stone ; 
And long had lost the active power 
To mount into an upper floor : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 39 

So that, when Madam chose to roam, 
She left him slumbering at home. 

At length, wheel'd forth in easy chair, 
His sole delight was to repair 
To a small, shaded Inn, that stood 
Contiguous to the Turnpike-road : 
There he would eat, and drink and smoke, 
And with the merry Curate joke : 
For, though so chang'd in form and feature, 
He still retain'd his pleasant nature : 
And, as he took the brimming glass, 
Was pleas'd to see the coaches pass : 
Nor did he hesitate to own 
He envied those which went to town, 
And long'd to be at Islington. 
' Nay, there I '11 go once more,' he said, 
1 But that won't be till I am dead : 
1 For wheresoe'er fat Tom shall die, 
1 At Islington his bones shall lie. 
' There, there, when I was young and poor, 
1 I smok'd my pipe at Ale-house door : 
' And now, nor can I Fortune blame, 
' When old and rich I do the same ; 
1 And all the good that pass'd between, 
1 Will be as if it ne'er had been. 



40 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

? But still, I trust, whene'er it ends, 

( Death and Tom Higgins will be friends.' 

He spoke, and strait a gentle sleep 
Did o'er his yielding senses creep. 
The pipe's last, ling'ring whiff was o'er, 
The hand could hold the tube no more ; 
It fell, unheeded, on the floor. 
Death then appear'd, with gentle tread ; 
Just shew'd his dart, and whisp'ring said, 
' Spirits, to your protection take him : — 
' For nothing in this world can wake him.' 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 41 



THE SHIPWRECK 

How proud the boast, that warlike glory 
Fills such a page in British story ; 
And, from old England's early date, 
Blazon'd her fame, and made her great ; 
When the stern Henries bravely fought ; 
When the brave Edwards sternly sought, 
On martial plains, well-earn'd renown, 
And with the laurel deck'd their crown. 
But after many an age was o'er 
New glories rose unknown before ; 
And the brave Britons made the sea 
A scene of equal victory. 
Still as th' exulting pen records, 
In grateful phrase and glowing words, 
The fame that crowns the British brave, 
Or in the field or on the wave, 
In accents sad it mourns its slain 
Who feed the deep or strew the plain. 



The word is given, the Lapwing sails, 
With joyful shouts and fav'ring gales : 



43 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

The Vessel, trimm'd in warlike pride, 
Dances upon the rolling tide : 
In a few hours it sees no more 
The white cliffs of Britannia's shore. 
To Biscay's bay their course they steer, 
And dread no threat'ning perils near ; 
For Britons never danger see 
When they behold an enemy. 
Nor had they, yielding to the wind, 
Left, for three days, the coast behind, 
When lo, a stranger sail appears : — 
The sight each sailor's bosom cheers ; 
For soon they hope to join the cry, 
So often heard, of Victory, 
But lo, a furious storm arose, 
More terrible than any foes. 
Borne rapidly before the blast, 
The rolling clouds the day o'ercast : 
The Ocean curls, the winds arise, 
And a deep gloom o'erwhelms the skies. 
The boist'rous squall the canvas tears ; 
The lightning's forky flash appears. 
Fierce, and more fierce the tempest blew : 
The waves with foam the deck bedew. 
Now rising high, now sinking low, 
The billows in succession flow ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 43 

And, when the Sun withdraws his light, 
New horrors wait upon the night. 
No glimm'ring ray is seen around, 
And moon and stars in shade are drown'd. 
No more is view'd the neighb'ring land ; — 
The ship denies the helm's command : 
Onward she wildly drives : the prow 
Plunges into the depths below ; 
Then, boldly rising, seems to fly, 
As if she dar'd assault the sky ; 
When, 'mid the Ocean's horrid roar, 
She dashes on the fatal shore ; 
And rocking now, from side to side, 
Through op'ning chasms drinks the tide. 

The light returns, but 'tis to shew 
The dismal scene of hopeless woe : 
The rising Sun, behind a cloud 
Shrinks, as afraid to view the flood, 
Where fierce and warring tempests reign 
As if 'twould ne'er be calm again. 
The hopeless crew for mercy crave, 
As they behold their wat'ry grave. 
Some cling about the floating mast, 
Some on the pointed crags are cast, 
There struggle till they breathe their last. 



44 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Others, on mountain billows tost, 
Brave ev'ry danger — and are lost. 
Two of the gallant crew alone, 
Who on the rocky coast were thrown, 
Surviv'd, in anguish deep, to mourn 
That they had 'scap'd life's briny bourn ; 
While their sad eyes behold around, 
The wreck — the dying — and the drown'd. 
All-bruis'd, exhausted, faint and weak, 
The shelter of a rock they seek ; 
There sit them down to rest ; but there, 
Instead of hope, they find despair. 
A savage wildness mark'd the place : 
No signs were there, the eye could trace, 
That foot of man had ever trod 
The dreary, desolate abode. 
It was a spot, where nought could thrive : 
Where nothing that had life could live. 
Impending rocks the place surround, 
And form a bold, impervious bound, 
Where the aspiring eagle's flight 
Alone can reach the tow'ring height : 
Beneath, the foaming billows roar 
And ceaseless lash the craggy shore. 
There the brave boatswain, and his mate, 
Thus talk'd o'er their untimely fate. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 45 

Boatswain 

' We have, my Boy, long sail'd together, 
In fair, in foul, in every weather. 
At Aboukir, we join'd the cry 
Of Nelson's glorious victory ; 
And, on Trafalgar's splendid day, 
We saw the British flag display 
Its triumphs, on th' astonish'd Main, 
O'er the best hopes of France and Spain. 
Or when the gales but gently blew, 
With some delightful shore in view ; 
And when the Moon's pale, silv'ry light 
Gave its mild beauties to the night, 
We have in social converse join'd, 
And talk'd of those we left behind ; 
Or careless chaunted forth the stave : — 
The Ocean is the Sailor's Grave. 
But now the waves the Lapwing swallow, 
And we, old Joe, must quickly follow. 
From this same Cove, there 's no retreating : 
The cliffs are high, the waves are beating ; 
There 's nothing here to cut and carve ; 
And faith, I 'd rather drown than starve. 
The next tide bears us from the shore, 
And then our voyage will be o'er : 
We both shall sink, to rise no more ; 



46 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And with our gallant messmates sleep, 
All in the bosom of the deep. 
Whether a shot should lay us low, 
Or the sharp weapon's fatal blow ; 
Or driven on the rocky coast, 
Our ship is wreck'd and all is lost ; 
We rest beneath the stormy wave : — 
The Ocean is the Sailor's Grave : 
And e'er the Sun deserts the sky, 
There, my good fellow, we shall lie. 
'Tis not the way I 'd chuse — but still, 
We must submit to his high will 
Who sits aloft ; and he knows best 
The Haven where we ought to rest.' 



Joe 

[ If as you say, things must be so, 
'Tis vain to make complaints, you know : 
Though cast beneath this lofty rock, 
I think of Mary, at the Dock. 
I feel the sinking at my heart 
When she and I were forc'd to part : 
For when she wept upon the shore, 
I thought I ne'er should see her more— 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 47 

I somehow fancied, that 'twere vain 
To hope I should return again. 
Alas, dear girl, she ne'er will know 
What is become of faithful Joe : 
For not a soul will live to tell 
The sad disaster that befell 
The Lapwing ; who, the other day, 
Left Plymouth Sound so trim and gay. 
Though without shelter from the storm, 
And starv'd with cold, my heart is warm ; 
Nor from its course will ever vary, 
While it can beat, and think on Mary. 
But since my ev'ry hope is o'er, 
And I shall see dear Moll no more : 
Come, Death, and ease me of my pain, 
Oh plunge me in the stormy main : 
Hear my last prayer, and be my friend, 
And let my life and suff'rings end.' 



He spoke : and lo ! before him sat 
The summon'd Messenger of Fate. 
' Ah ! thou art there ; (the Seaman said), 
I know thee well — but who 's afraid ? 
I fear'd thee not, when, at my gun, 
I 've seen the mischief thou hast done, 



48 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Upon the deck, from helm to prow ; 
And, faith, I do not fear thee now ; 
But yield me to thy friendly power, 
And welcome this my final hour/ 
— Death wav'd his arm : — with furious shock, 
The billows dash'd against the rock ; 
Then, with returning force, they bore 
The helpless victims from the shore : 
There sinking, 'neath the foaming wave — 
The Sailors found — the Sailor's Grave. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 49 



THE VIRAGO 

What is the richest boon in life ? 
I say, a fond and faithful wife ; 
Whose form is fair, whose temper 's cool, 
Who never wants to play the fool : 
Who knows, and who performs her duty, 
Nor thinks, because she 's born a beauty, 
That, from her youth till she grows old, 
She may both domineer and scold. 
— O happy he ! whose wedded life 
Ne'er knew domestic feud or strife; 
Who, from the partner of his heart, 
Ne'er heard the word that could impart 
A keen reproach, a painful thought; 
Who, with her marriage portion, brought 
A far more precious gem than e'er 
The neck adorns, or decks the hair; 
Which shines so bright in all degrees ; — 
The never-failing wish to please. 

Not so the Fair One of the story 
Which this bold page now lays before you. 
vol. 1.— D 



50 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Mistress Pengethly was a Lady 
Who long ago had pass'd her hey-day : 
A spoil'd and only daughter she 
Of a proud Dame of Family, 
Who was, if you would take her word, 
The twentieth Cousin of a Lord. 
Her husband also, when he died, 
Had left her his whole stock of pride ; 
For, having been High-sheriff, he 
Became, poor man, as proud as she : 
But as for wealth, a mod'rate share 
Remain'd for Wife and Female Heir. 
Horses and hounds, and jolly doing, 
Had almost brought the 'Squire to ruin ; 
When, to escape this dire disgrace, 
He clos'd, one night, his mortal race. 



The house, the mortgag'd lands were sold, 
Madam and Miss no more behold 
The liv'ried train obedient wait 
Behind their chair, or at their gate; 
Compell'd, but not content, to own 
A Villa in a Country Town ; 
Whose household state alone display'd 
A curly foot-boy and a maid : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



51 



Where nought of finery was seen 
But a Veranda, pink and green ; 
While humble neighbours as they pass. 
Admire the drap'ry, through the glass, 
Whose folds in wide luxuriance spread, 
With fringe and tassels blue and red. 
Here they deplor'd their hapless fate, 
Their lowly fall and humbled state : 
Chang'd the Barouche and four bright 

bays 
For, now-and-then, an hired chaise : 
From the world exil'd and the ton, 
In their small house they liv'd alone, 
Almost unseen, and quite unknown ; 
And, which is no uncommon lot, 
By all their former friends forgot. 
But it has been observ'd by men, 
Who wrote it with a knowing pen, 
That Pride, whatever ill o'ertakes us, 
Is the last feeling that forsakes us ; 
And, beat in every other part, 
Still keeps the fortress of the heart. 
Thus, to the Vicar's humble wife, 
They 'd talk of fashionable life, 
And number up, among their cousins, 
Ladies and Duchesses by dozens ; 



52 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Would quite surprize her with the story 

Of all their former days of glory ; 

And then, in pride, return again 

To some uneasy, cheerless strain — 

' My daughter, who, in shape and feature, 

' Is a bright Paragon of Nature : 

1 Form'd in the highest ranks to shine, 

1 I say it, though the girl is mine, 

' Yet is she doom'd to pass her hour, 

1 Like some unheeded, beauteous flower 

4 That never is expos'd to view, 

' And fades away where first it grew. 

1 Augusta sings, but no one hears her; 

1 Augusta plays, but no one cheers her ; 

' Augusta smiles, but no one sees :— 

1 We might as well be shrubs and trees ! 

' Such is our dull, inactive state, 

1 We little more than vegetate. 

1 What do we see in this poor town ? 

' Scarce any faces but our own j 

1 Unless, a rare and lucky chance, 

1 Of trav'ller gay we catch a glance.' 



Dear Mistress Goodly \ who had heard 
Her husband preach the sacred word, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 53 

That doth the voice of comfort speak 

To those who, with devotion, seek 

In heav'nly mercy the relief 

That's sure to heal our mortal grief; 

Would say 'twas wisdom to submit 

To what the Powers above thought fit ; 

And Patience taught in humble phrase, 

With cheering hope of better days : 

That Happiness doth not depend 

Upon the wealth we have to spend ; 

That oft, the rich, with all their store, 

Are not so happy as the poor ; 

That soon or late pale Death will come 

To call them to one common Home ; 

And then, the great event will rest, 

Not on the ric/z, but on the best. 

— Thus when her Sermon she had done, 

Had curtsied, and was fairly gone, 

She furnish'd both Mamma and Daughter 

With an whole evening full of laughter. 

— But, to be brief — these clouds were soon 

Converted to an Honey Moon. 



'Tis oft the case that birth decay'd 
Affects to scorn the Sons of Trade \ 



54 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And yet, at length, will join the train 
Of City Dames in Mincing Lane: 
Augusta too forgot her pride, 
And sunk into a Merchant's Bride. 

It happen'd, just about this time, 
That, as the year was in its prime, 
Mr. Pengethly travell'd down 
To strut about his native Town : 
— He was a Tradesman of renown : — 
When waggish Cupid, from his quiver 
Drew forth a dart and pierc'd his liver; 
Or, in his breast, 'tis much the same, 
Augusta's charms rais'd such a flame ; 
So fierce it burn'd that, from her eye, 
The sentence beam'd to live or die. 
What, though her fortune was but small, 
Her Mother said — 'twas none at all : 
Because she thought the enamour'd Cit 
Would take it out in charms and wit ; 
For Love had quench'd his wish for pelf; — 
The treasure was Augusta's self. 
He sought no more ; the point was carried, 
And John Pengethly soon was married. 
The bells ne'er ceas'd throughout the day ; 
The Bridegroom ne'er was seen so gay. 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 55 

The Bride appear'd with blushing grace, 

Cover'd with muslin, silk and lace. 

The Banquet follow'd— and the Ball :— 

John drew his purse and paid for all. 

At length his town acquaintance greet 

The married pair in Fenchurch Street. 

He smil'd and smirk'd, but many thought 

He had not done the thing he ought ; 

And e'er three months had said adieu, 

Why, he began to think so too. 

The Lady was both young and pretty, 

But then she did not like the City. 

She lov'd expence, and he was saving ; 

She was for ev'ry pleasure craving ; 

And his great object was to sow 

His money, and to see it grow. 

She, whose soft words and modest charms 

Fill'd his fond bosom with alarms, 

When in the Country first he lov'd ; — 

In Town a fierce Virago prov'd. 

In short, as we may well suppose, 

They now were friends, and then were foes. 

John's face was sometimes seen to bleed ; 

'Twas a bad razor did the deed : — 

Though chatt'ring folks and loving friends 

Would say — 'twas Madam's fingers ends. 



$6 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

He in his bus'ness sought relief, 
And getting money sooth'd his grief; 
He found the bargain he had made 
in marriage, was a losing trade : 
But his experience did suggest, — 
Of a bad bargain make the best. 
All have their common cares in life, 
And he had got a scolding wife : 
Though, in the matrimonial firm, 
Tis Death alone dissolves the term ; 
Or something that 's unfit to name, 
A deadly foe to female fame ; 
And she had never wish'd to rove 
From the chaste bounds of lawful love. 
— He felt with pride his word was good, 
That, on firm base, his credit stood ; 
In ev'ry mart he could command 
The richest stores of ev'ry land ; 
And this with patience made him bear 
The burthen of domestic care. 
At home, 'twas true, a secret smile 
From Molly could that care beguile, 
And he would give a squeeze or more 
To Molly when she op'd the door. 
She knew his rap, and took good care, 
With nimble step, to meet him there. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 57 

Now, as one night, he cheerless sat 

With his cross-rib in bick'ring chat, 

The Watchman cried — past twelve o'clock, 

When the door rattled with a knock ; 

And Molly enter'd, pale with fear — 

' There 's one who wants my Mistress here : 

' But such a figure, Ma'am, that, sure, 

1 Your eyes will ne'er the sight endure.' 

DEATH enter'd as the damsel spoke, 

Pengethly trembled — Madam shook ; 

Away the Shape his Victim bore ; 

And, as he dragg'd her from the door, 

She rav'd and threaten'd, kick'd and swore ; 

Then call'd the Watch : — but soon the riot 

Was heard no more — and all was quiet. 

Pengethly follow'd to the gate, 

Submissive to the will of Fate. 

' Farewell, (he cried) my dearest dear ! — 

1 As I no more shall see you here, 

' To my fond wish it may be given, 

1 That we shall meet again in Heaven ; 

1 And since your daily clamours cease, 

1 On earth I hope to live in peace. — 

' DEATH, far away, my cares hath carried. — 

' Molly ) to-morrow we 1 11 be married? 



58 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE GLUTTON 

Among those vices which the Law 
Does not controul or keep in awe, 
Which look not to the grave intent 
Of any Act of Parliament ; 
Are subject to no other rule 
Than what is taught in Reason's school ; 
But, straying from her general plan, 
Degrade the character of Man ; 
Among them all, who can descry 
A vice more mean than Gluttony ? 
Of any groveling slave of sense, 
Not one can claim so small pretence 
To that indulgence which the wise 
Allow to human frailties, 
As the inglorious, beastly sinner, 
Whose only object is — a dinner. 
The Miser, who heaps up his store, 
May prove a Treasurer for the poor ; 
And, by his avarice, prepare 
The funds by which his gen'rous heir 



im^^Tra 




ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 59 

Can, with unbounded grace, impart 

The kindness of a feeling heart. 

— The thoughtless, but the jovial souls, 

Who pleasure find in flowing bowls, 

Enjoy the day, or pass the nights 

In Bacchanalian delights : — 

Though their excesses do not give 

The happiness for which we live : 

Yet, round their table mirth prevails, 

And Humour laughs, though Reason fails. 



Scourge me the man who dares to say 
The belly claims superior sway, 
And, in the various scale of sense, 
Can boast a fair pre-eminence ; 
Whose pleasure lies in luscious meats, 
And reasons only while he eats ; 
On whom the subject never palls 
Of poult'rers' shops and butchers' stalls; 
Who scents no odours so bewitching, 
As sav'ry steams from well-fed kitchen ; 
Who does with real rev'rence look 
On the perfections of a Cook ; 
Whose gloating eyes view every dish, 
Of boil'd, and roast, of soup and fish, 



60 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Of callipash and fatten'd haunch, 
Till he has filFd his bloated paunch ; 
And then the rich ragouts restore 
The stomach, till it holds no more. 
— For whom does he prepare the feast, 
And daily play the greedy beast? 
Nature resents the sensual show, 
And, sick'ning, often tells him so : 
She leaves his rav'nous maw to share 
His banquets with the Scavenger. 



Such was Sir Gabriel Lamprey, Knight, 
Who thought that a sharp appetite, 
With a good dinner, form'd a blessing, 
Of all life's goods, most worth possessing. 
Wealthy he was — and when Lord Mayor, 
Did Honour to the City chair : 
But he had long outliv'd the taste 
For any pleasure, but a feast : 
And thus, as folks were us'd to say, 
He pass'd each regulated day. 
— The chicken- broth was brought at nine,- 
He then arose to ham and wine ; 
And, with a philosophic air, 
Decided on the Bill of Fare. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 6 1 

He took his bitters just at two, 
To give his appetite its cue ; 
The coach then drew up to the door, 
And gave him exercise till four. 
At five the steady bell inform'd 
That dinner's ready to be storm'd. 
But a sad day arriv'd at last, 
When, as he view'd the rich repast, 
DEATH enter'd, to proclaim a fast; 
And freely took an empty chair 
Which happen'd to be standing there. 
Up starts the Knight, with hideous grin, 
The napkin dangling from his chin : 
The Cook, with apprehension big, 
Drops from his hands the roasted pig; 
The women scream'd, the dishes chatter'd ; 
The floor with sauce was all bespatter'd ; 
When the Knight thought 'twere best be 

civil, 
And hold the candle to the Devil. 
1 Do lay that ugly dart aside : 
' A knife and fork shall be supplied. 
1 Come, change your glass for one of mine, 
1 That shall appear brimfull of wine. 
1 Perhaps you're hungry, and may feel 
' A hankering to make a meal ; 



62 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

1 So without compliment or words, 
' Partake of what the house affords.' 
1 Avaunt,' cried Death, 'no more ado 
1 1 'm come to make a meal of you.' 







o 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 6% 



THE RECRUIT 

SERJEANT 

Let the drum's inviting sound 
Call the brave, gallant youth around, 
From the wood-side and the vale, 
And shaded hamlet in the dale : 
Let them listen to my story, 
Of War's renown — of Death and Glory. 
By me, your noble King commands 
His loyal people's hearts and hands. 
Here, my fine Lads, th' inspiring word ; 
And change your sickles for the sword. 
Let coward spirits meanly toil, 
To sow the seed or plough the soil : 
Let others reap the ripen'd grain ; 
Harvests of honour he '11 obtain, 
Who seeks the pointed spear to wield, 
And gather Fame in tented Field. 
Let the drum's enliv'ning sound 
Inspire the village heroes round.' 



64 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

' I 'm tir'd,' said Tom, ' of this same home, 
And oft have long'd abroad to roam. 
I like the rattle of the drum ; 
And, Serjeant, to enlist I 'm come. 
Nay, while its noise the women fright, 
Egad, it makes me long to fight ; 
And all, within the hundred, know, 
That I can give a sturdy blow. 
Ay, and, at cudgel-playing, I 
Have often gain'd the victory. 

let me to the wars be led ! — 

1 long to break a Frenchman's head. 
So Master Serjeant, thus I say; 

I '11 follow where you lead the way. 
I to the battle wish to go, 
To serve my King and fight the foe. 
Such is my word ; so here 's my hand ; 
And I '11 obey as you command.' 



' Take not my Son,' the Father cried ; 
The Mother wept, the Sister sigh'd : 
' And Thomas, is it thus you prove,' 
Molly exclaim'd, 'your plighted love.' 
' Let not,' he said, ' your sorrows flow 
I 'm listed, Girl, and I must go, 
Whether it pleases you, or no. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 65 

But, Molly, when you see me come, 
From foreign lands, victorious home, 
It then will be my honest pride, 
To make my Love a Soldier's bride.' 

' Dry up your tears,' the Serjeant said, 
* He now pursues a nobler trade. 
How will your warm affections burn, 
To see your lover soon return ; 
The white plume nodding on his crest ; 
The stamp of honour on his breast ; 
Strutting along in martial pride, 
The sabre dangling by his side. 
He '11 then be worthy of your charms, 
A Hero then will fill your arms.' 

1 If I were sure he would again,' 
Says Molly, ■ view his native plain ; 
I 'd smile and, through the ling'ring year, 
His absence would with patience bear. 
But much I fear some fatal blow 
Will lay my much-lov'd Thomas low. 
The Sexton says he knows you well, 
And 'tis an idle tale you tell : 
That your recruits are always slain, 
And never see their homes again. 



VOL. 



66 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Such are the fears that fill my breast, 
That ne'er will leave my heart at rest : 
Such the sad burthen of my story.' 



— ' Then 'twill, sweet Girl, be Death and 
Glory ! ' 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 67 



THE MAIDEN LADIES 

Wonders will never cease, 'tis said, 
And wond'ring is an ancient trade. 
But it turn'd out one Winter's night, 
It was, indeed, a curious sight, 
Round a warm fire, in that cold weather, 
That ten old maids had got together : 
At least, so far they had miscarried, 
Not one of them had e'er been married. 
It would be needless to relate, 
What whimsical, controuling fate, 
Had kept them in this awkward state. 
But so it was, — and all the Graces 
Of vet'ran age had mark'd their faces. 
But though they long had ceas'd to charm, 
They still could flourish an alarm, 
With that same power which does not fail, 
While Life can furnish out the tale ; 
That instrument so nicely hung 
In female form, yclep'd a Tongue. 



68 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

— Miss Stately open'd the Divan, 
And thus the conversation ran, 
Upon that Animal call'd Man. 

1 I think that Nature never gave 
The right he boasts of — to enslave 
The Sex, to whom this title 's given — 
The last and fairest work of Heaven. 
Yet, from the cradle's wimp'ring hour, 
Till Fate deprives him of his power, 
He claims an arbitrary sway, 
Which woman lives but to obey. 
And if a female should inherit 
A just and a becoming spirit; 
If by her sound, superior sense, 
She scoffs at his omnipotence, . 
The men exclaim, how fierce and bold ! 

what a termagant and scold ! 
While the good husband who thinks fit, 
As it becomes him, to submit, 

And is, at all times, kind and meek, 
Is stigmatis'd, a Jerry Sneak. 
£ — I have attain'd, as it appears, 
The rev'rend age of threescore years, 
And all that time it is my pride, 

1 never wish'd to be a bride : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 69 

I 've liv'd an independent Life 

Nor e'er would be that thing, — a 

Wife. 
I know not what they mean who tell, 
That we shall manage apes in Hell; 
But this I know, that no dull Fool, 
Or Fashion's Macaroni Tool; 
No hunting Blade, who, from October 
To closing March, is ever sober; 
No wealthy Cit of grov'ling birth, 
Has made me lead a Hell on earth. 
— ' Hear Lady Formation relate 
The pleasures of a marriage state. 
Money and beauty both she gave 
To be a noble husband's slave. 
A Lady then in coach-and-six, 
But what of that — , she could not fix 
The fondness of her Lordly Elf, 
Who thought of nothing but himself. 
In pride and pomp, and grave display, 
The solemn years pass'd slow away ; 
With scarce, she says, one merry day ; 
Till, by a Phthisic in his breast, 
The proud old Peer was sent to rest. 
Freedom now came to dry the tear, 
With a good jointure in the rear : 



70 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

But soon the brood of children vex her, 
The boys disturb, the girls perplex her. 
The one their various whims pursue : 
The others sing, — Who comes to woo ? 
The gay young Lord 's a dupe at play, 
And Miss Amelia runs away : 
While she in this uneasy state, 
Leaves them to Fortune and to Fate. 
Such she describes her wedded Life, 
And oft amid its stately strife, 
When, bending to its stern decree, 
Aye, often has she envied Me. 
Scarce a day vanish'd, but she said, 
I wish that I were still a Maid.' 

1 Thoughts,' said Miss Prim, ' more just or 
true, 
I never heard, not e'en from you ; 
Whose sense and knowledge stand confest, 
Among the wisest and the best. 
At cards it is the self-same scene ; 
Behold the fate of this poor Queen : 
Vain all the power that she can bring — 
She yields submissive to the King. 1 

Miss Mustard, with sarcastic smile, 
Could not such reas'nings reconcile ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH J7I 

And thus the lively Lady spoke, 
But half in earnest, half in joke. 



1 This may be true, which I have heard. 
With so much dignity preferr'd ; 
But still, I 'm ready to suspect 
That Pride may issue from Neglect ; 
And when we boast of maiden power, 
The men may say, — The grapes are sour. 
What is, has been, and e'en will be, 
As long as One and Two make Three, 
Is fixed by Fate and Destiny. 
Nay, Reason and Religion too, 
Declare the doctrine to be true ; 
That, from Creation's earliest hour, 
Superior Man was cloth'd with power ; 
And women, it was thought most fit, 
As weaker vessels, should submit. 
We read of Amazons of old, 
A female nation fierce and bold, 
Who, when they met the men, would treat 'em, 
As foes avow'd, and often beat 'em : 
But, if Historians sage speak true, 
They would for friendly parleys sue, 
And were not quite so chaste as you. 



72 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

— 'Tis all fine talk, — but I must own, 
That I have liv'd so long alone 
Was not my wish : and, even now, 
When fifty years have marked my brow, 
I would, could I command my fate, 
With pleasure quit this chearless state ; 
Nay even, were it to my sorrow, 
I would a husband take to-morrow ; 
And should rejoice, nor think me light, 
To be a Bride this very flight.'' 

Thus as she spoke, John trembling told, 
The Visitor they would behold. 
One clam'rous scream announc'd their fears ; 
When lo ! — the horrid shape appears. 
Amid the universal squalling, 
Some sunk in chairs, and some were 

sprawling ; 
And as the Spectre thus display'd 
His griesly form, — he softly said, 
1 Lady, I take you at your word, 
And granted is the suit preferr'd. 
; Tis Fate commands, and I with pride, 
Embrace Miss Mustard as my Bride. 
A well-appointed hearse-and-four 
Attends her pleasure at the door. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 73 

The marriage ceremonies wait 
Her presence at the Church-yard gate : 
My Lanthern shines with nuptial light ; 
The bells in muffled peal, invite, — 
And She, shall be, — a Bride to Night? 



74 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE QUACK DOCTOR 

What is the choicest boon of Heaven, 
That to frail mortal man is given ; 
To cheer his heart and gild his way 
Through passing Life's uncertain day ? 

Ambition will at once exclaim, 
Raise me to station and to name : 
Give me Power and give me State, 
Content I '11 leave the rest to fate. 
Pale Avarice, with grasping hand, 
Will quick reply, — let me command 
The fountain from whence riches flow : 
No other joy I seek to know. 

Call forth the minstrels, let them play 
The enchanting music through the day ; 
Let but the sensual spirits wait 
And ask admittance at my gate ; 
Let but the feast prolong delight, 
And give a blaze to gloomy night : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 75 

Thus let me live till life is o'er, 
Pleasure proclaims, — I ask no more. 

How vain, how impotent the plan 
That oft is form'd by thoughtless man, 
His transient, fickle hours to bless, 
With a false dream of happiness ! 
— If pain assaults the splendid throne, 
Does not the scepter'd Monarch groan ? 
If raging Fever's burning heat 
Compels the hurried pulse to beat ; 
If the cold Ague shakes the frame, 
And shudd'ring Limbs its force proclaim ; — 
If the tormented bosom strains 
With Hectic's agitating pains ; — 
In short, whatever the disease, — 
Will power, will riches give us ease ? 
While Pleasure, trembling with affright, 
From the sick chamber takes its flight. 

What then 's the choicest boon of Heaven, 
Which to frail, mortal man is given, 
To cheer his heart and gild his way 
Through passing Life's uncertain day ; 
Superior far to power and wealth ? 
The answer is at hand ; — 'Tis Health. 



76 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

O Nymph divine, without thy power, 
Life cannot know a joyous hour : 
If thou art absent, what can give, 
A cheerful thought, a wish to live. 
Nature must sicken soon and die, 
Without thy active energy. 
Where'er you hold your genial reign, 
The squallid family of pain 
Take their compell'd, unwilling flight, 
To the dark realms of dreary night ; 
And grateful vot'ries resume 
Th' enliven'd eye, the native bloom, 
Med'cine's thy handmaid, when the sage 
Experience calls it to assuage 
The morbid evils that inflame 
Man's fine-spun, irritable frame ; — 
When Science doth direct the art 
Of healing to each suff'ring part ; 
When he, in ^Esculapian School, 
Well-taught, ne'er deviates from the rule 
Founded on maxims tried and sure, 
Which give the fairest hopes of cure. — 
Such are the steady foes of Death 
Who oft recall the flitting breath : 
But though, at length, their art must yield, 
And to the Tyrant quit the field ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH tf 

They oft prolong Life's final date, 
And check the eager hand of Fate. 



Not so the mercenary race, 
Pretenders ignorant and base, 
Who live upon the daring lie 
Of Universal Remedy ; — 
But yet possess the active sense, 
By their low arts and impudence, 
To gull the foolish, who are found 
In ev'ry quarter to abound : 
For such th' enquiring eye may greet 
In the proud square and humble street, 
Who help to feed, as we may see, 
These miscreants of Quackery. 
— Do, for a curious Moment pop 
Your head into that splendid shop, 
Where the gilt vases, in a row, 
Form such a gay and motley show ; 
With labell'd bottles to explain 
The compounds which they ne'er contain : 
Where Juleps, Anodynes and Pills 
Are seen prepar'd to cure all ills 
That do infect the human frame, 
Whate'er their nature or their name. 



78 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

— Of this grand shop behold the Master, 
Who deals in Bolus, Pill and Plaister. 
See how his Visage he disposes, 
As his hands measure out the doses; 
While his round paunch most truly tells, 
He never takes the Drugs he sells. 
Sometimes he cures the astonish'd Elf, 
By leaving Nature to herself: 
Sometimes, by Chance, he doth appease 
The raging torments of disease; 
Or, with the drug's enliv'ning power, 
Plays on the Fancy's gloomy hour. 
These in ev'ry form proclaim 
The healing wonders of his name, 
While he conceals, with subtle art, 
The slaughters that deserve a Cart. 
— 'Twere well were we to turn an ear, 
And listen to what 's passing there. — 

' Doctor, I 'm old, and full of ills, 
1 And, for Apothecary's bills, 
1 Alas, I 've paid them o'er and o'er, 
1 And am resolv'd to pay no more. — ' 

— ' And so, at last, you 're come to me, 
1 Just like the rest, — but where 's my fee ? ' — 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 79 

' There, take it, Sir, — I 'm eighty-five, 
1 And scarce can keep myself alive.' 

1 You cough, I see, and are opprest, 
1 Your breathing too affects your breast ; 
1 Your sleep 's disturb'd throughout the night, 
c And you have lost your appetite : 
1 Your limbs are weak, your nerves unstrung, 
1 And you are now no longer young. 
1 Such is your case, and I believe, 
1 'Twill yield to this Carminative. 
1 Among my Med'cines 'tis the best ; 
* The Printed Bill explains the rest. 
1 But if it should not ease your pain, 
1 Why then — why, you must come again.' 

1 But I love ale : — must I forsake it?' — 

— ' No, — 'tis a balmy fluid, — take it.' 

— ' Will Gin and Water do me harm ? ' — 

— ''Twill do you good; but take it 
warm.' — 

— ' My case you clearly understand : 
1 The ablest Doctor in the land ! — 



80 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

— ' I really am so very weak, 
1 That my tongue faulters as I speak : 

* Yes, Doctor, I can hardly bring 

' My voice to tell my suffering. ' — 

— ■ Your languid state your looks express ; 
{ Madam, I feel for your distress. 
1 Do not exert yourself at present : 
1 These Cordial Drops are very pleasant : 
1 And they, I trust, will soon restore 
1 The strength, whose absence you deplore. 
c Though pale your cheek, and though 
your eye 

* Has lost its brisk vivacity, 

' With which it has been us'd to dart 
1 Its beams to each surrounding heart ; 
1 I doubt not I shall soon bestow, 
1 To the wan face its wonted glow ; 
1 And e'er a dozen weeks expire, 
1 Those eyes will gain their wonted fire.' 

— ' But I am not so young you know, 
1 As I was forty years ago.' — 

1 — Forty ? for shame ; — it may be seen, 
'Tis true, that you are not eighteen : 



i 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 8 1 

' You 're ill, but when your looks revive, 
1 I then shall see you thirty-five. 
1 Not more, I 'm sure, — and that 's an age, 
' When Beauty still may hearts engage.' — 



— ' Doctor, your cheering words impart 
1 Delight to my desponding heart. 

* O what a wretched life I 've led ! 
' I wonder that I am not dead ! 

' 'Tis now, I think, three years and more 
' Since daily to my wearied door, 

* Some great Physician's chariot roll'd, 
1 Who for his Med'cine took my gold. 

1 One told me that my nerves must feel 

' The rigid power of bracing steel : 

' Another, that the tepid wave 

' Should my tense, outstretch'd fibres lave. 

* When the warm, heating Med'cines fail'd, 
1 The cooling System then prevail'd. 

1 To Bath and Tunbridge I was sent ; 

' But vain was the experiment, 

' To Brighton also I have been, 

1 Quaff'd the salt wave and walk'd the Stein ; 

\ But, after all the trials past, 

' You see me here half-dead at last. 

VOL. I.— F 



82 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

' Those Cordial Drops, have giv'n me ease, 
' Another dose, Sir, if you please : 
' And, as for Med'cines I am come, 
' I think I '11 take a bottle home.' 

— ' You can't do better : — when you 're low, 
1 They soon will make your spirits flow. 
1 These Pills within your chamber keep, 
f They are decided friends to sleep. 
1 And, at your meals, instead of wine, 
' Take this digestive Anodyne. 
1 Should you invigoration want, 
1 Employ this fine Corroborant. 
1 These curious Panaceas will, 
1 If well applied, cure ev'ry ill. 
' So take them home ; and read the Bill, 
1 Which with my signature at top, 
1 Explains the Med'cines of my Shop. 
' On these you may have firm reliance; 
1 So set the College at defiance. 
' And should they not your health restore, 
1 You now know where to send for more.' — 

' John, call the Carriage to the door.' 

' The Lady having said Adieu, 
1 I now, Sir, can attend to you. 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH S3 

1 So Mr. Alderman, relate, 

' What ails you, and each symptom state.' — 

— ' Doctor, I've heard that you're renown'd 
1 By dint of making sick men sound ; 
1 And I am in no common fright 

* Lest I should lose my appetite : 

' For neither Fish, nor Flesh, nor Stew 

' Can tempt me as they us'd to do. 

' But first you '11 let me know for certain 

1 Who is the rogue behind the curtain. 

4 He looks as he were made of stone, 

1 With nought for cheeks and chin but bone. 

1 His eyes are dismal, hollow sockets, 

1 As empty as a Poet's pockets. 

* I see what he 's about : — why zounds, 
1 I '11 take no drugs that fellow pounds. 
1 I 'd better far, to save my bacon, 

' Go back to those I have forsaken. 

1 And look once more for healing knowledge, 

1 To the grave Sages of the College. 

1 They '11 do their best, and I won't thwart 

'em; 
' I then shall die, — secundum artetn; 
1 And not be finish'd by a Dunce 
( Whose Trade 's to kill and cure at once.' 



84 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE SOT 

The various ways which Death contrives, 
To put an end to human Lives, 
Would, were they told in prose or song, 
Make out a tale so very, long, 
That few, aye very few, would lend 
A kind attention to the end : 
But e're they reach'd the fiftieth line, 
Would the dull, tedious work resign. 
'Tis how men live, not how they die, 
That stirs up Curiosity. 
Our thoughts, our spirits we convene 
To look upon the living scene. 
The Actor comes, he plays his part, 
With Comic or with Tragic art ; 
But if 'tis order'd that he dies, 
We leave him to his obsequies, 
And the impatient eye expects 
The hero that shall enter next. 
But still my subject bids me state, 
The whims and phantasies of Fate. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 85 

For laurell'd Heroes and the brave, 
Glory oft digs a distant grave, 
Deep in the blood-besprinkled plain, 
Cover'd with thousands of the slain, 
Whose ghastly, mangled forms invite 
The Vulture to delay his flight. 
— The scepter'd Monarch yields his crown 
In state, upon a bed of down ; 
While Poverty doth oft withdraw 
From life, upon a bed of straw. 
Some die with hemp around their gullets, 
And some from balls — and some from 

bullets : 
But 'Twas the fate of poor Jack Marrow, 
To breathe his last on a Wheel-barrow. 

Jack had a jolly Butcher been, 
No Market had a better seen : 
Oft had he led the jovial train, 
In Leadenhall or Honey Lane ; 
But could a courteous visage put on, 
Beneath suspended legs of mutton : 
With frock of blue, and shining face, 
Would welcome all with sprightly grace ; 
And had a certain leering eye 
To tempt the passenger to buy. 



86 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

He'd glance the knife across the steel, 
And boast his beef, or vaunt his veal ; 
Talk of lamb's kidnies for a stew, 
And sweet-breads, what a nice ragout : 
While shoulders, breasts, and loins and 

hearts 
Flow'd from his tongue, by fits and starts. 
Nor was this all : — he had the skill 
To manage weights and scales at will ; 
And, by a certain slight of hand, 
Could a short ounce or two command. 
Besides, his tongue was so bewitching 
To all the maids who rul'd the kitchen, 
That no complaints were ever heard, 
Where Marrow's daily Tray appear'd. 

At length, advanc'd in years and warm, 
In added gains, he bought a farm : 
He lik'd the mansion as he found it, 
With just a score of acres round it, 
Where he might fatten sheep, or graze 
An added ox, for holidays. 
Nay, sometimes, to keep up the knack, 
He 'd throw a wether on its back 
And plunge his knife into the throat, 
To let the stream of Life run out : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 87 

Or dress a calf, with knife and steel, 

Into each well-known form of Veal. 

But what was this, to when the stall 

Claim'd ev'ry hour, in LeadenhalL 

— Thus did Jack live a year or two, 

But, tir'd of having nought to do, 

He sold his cattle great and small, 

And thought the Goat was worth them all. 

Now this same Goat, I must define, - 

Was nothing better than a Sign, 

That hung suspended in the air 

To tell the Country Bill of Fare, 

Which Village Alehouse doth provide, 

Throughout the day, by highway side : 

For it was best to Jack's own thinking 

To 've done with meat and take to drinking : 

So to the Goat, on toping bent, 

Or foul or fair, he daily went. 

The Curate there his pipe would smoke, 

Now moralize, now crack his joke. 

The merry Miller would prolong 

The evening with a cheerful song ; 

And chatt'ring Barber, o'er his ale, 

Would catch the curious with a tale : 

There the Exciseman, clad with power, 

Would dignify the social hour : 



88 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

The traveling Pedlar, looking wise, 
Would rail at Taxes and Excise ; 
While Philpot, with a paunch as round 
As his own butts, would bow profound. 
Here, Jack by punch and ale subdued, 
Smil'd always when they both were good. 
Here he his copious draughts would take, 
Or smoke, to keep himself awake, 
Until his loving wife should come, 
To guide her stamm'ring toper home. 
Now she was one of those good wives 
Who ne'er disturb their husband's lives, 
But yet, without much grief attend 
The season when those lives may end. 



'Twas, as the Village Annals say, 
One ev'ning in the month of May, 
When, as Jack Marrow dosing sat, 
He yielded to the stroke of Fate ; 
And some confusion spread around 
When He felt, senseless, to the ground ; 
But Death appear'd — and, on his barrow, 
Trundled away with poor Jack Marrow. 
Nor was the party much dismay'd : 
They plied their jugs, with ' Who 's afraid ! ' — 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 89 

— The Curate, who had, in his day, 
Beheld so many wheel'd away, 
Calmly look'd on, nor felt much sorrow, 
For what would bring him Fees to-morrow. 
Besides, his Dame had made it known, 
She wish'd to mend her black silk gown ; 
And the shrewd Parson had in view 
The power to do it ; as he knew 
That scarfs and hatbands did possess 
The means of aiding Madam's dress. 
So he look'd calmly on, when Death 
Put Master Marrow out of breath. 
— But the fat Landlord shook his head— 
{ If that same Gem'man should be dead, 
I ought to cry — for, to my cost, 
The best of customers I 've lost ; 
And if he don't this bout escape, 
Egad, I '11 hang the Goat in crape.' — 
— Thus, let our trade be what it will, 
Int'rest is apt to sway us still, 
And he in this world will go down, 
Who to another yields his own. 



But Mrs. Marrow strait appears 
In all the rage of grief and tears, 



90 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

With what's all this? What are you 

doing ? 
And where, you Scarecrow, are you going ? 
— Madam, your Husband's time is come ; 
And, as you see, He 's going home. 
His eyes are now for ever closing — 
— You lie, you thief, He 's only dosing ; 
And, if you rob me of the rest, 
I '11 take his wig, for that 's his best. — 
— This instant let your manners mend, 
Or I '11 the fatal stroke suspend : 
If you continue thus to scold, 
I will your widowhood with-hold; 
A worser evil shall betide you, 
He shall snore ten more years beside you. 
And if with me you play the shrew, 
He still shall live to bury you. — 
' — It was my grief, Sir, pray excuse me : 
Your pardon, Sir, do not refuse me. 
I feel that I have done amiss ; 
But such a cruel sight as this, 
So sad, so unexpected too, 
How could a wife, so fond, so true, 
Without heart-rending feelings view ! 
And when on such a sight we gaze, 
Why, Sorrow knows not what it says : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 91 

Ah, vain would be the Doctor's skill ; 

So I submit me to your will. — ' 

* — Go on before, prepare the way 

For this same heavy load of clay : 

Discard his wig, and seize his riches : 

You now may wear the Dead Man's Breeches.' 



92 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE HONEY MOON 

Of all the Follies that disgrace 
The progress of the human race, 
Few call for livelier ridicule, 
Or more distinctly mark the fool, 
Than when old age attempts to prove, 
That still it has the power to love. — 
It asks not youth, it asks not health, 
To hoard accumulated wealth : 
To the last stage of lengthen'd years, 
The love of gold the Miser cheers ; 
And, on the day he tells fourscore, 
He still can count his treasures o'er. — 
While Reason lives, the hoary sage 
May feel that Wisdom crowns his age ; 
And, to Life's most protracted hour, 
He may enjoy the pride of Power. 
But Nestor's self a fool would prove, 
If he should turn his thoughts to love. 
When Winter's Form, with trembling pace, 
Attempts a sprightly, vernal grace, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 93 

Or, with a stamm'ring tongue, to tell, 
He loves so true — he loves so well; 
Or bids the blushing roses blow 
Around his temples white with snow; 
The careless, playful world may smile ; 
But rigid Reason will revile 
The wand'ring strange from Nature's plan, 
And see the Ideot in the Man. 
Bring me the cap that Folly wears, 
With jingling bells and lengthen'd ears, 
And place it on the old man's head 
Who babbles love, and longs to wed. 
Youth is the season made for joy ; 
Let Cupid then his power employ ; 
Then all his soft delights improve, 
While Hymen knits the bands of Love. 



Sir Peter had grown old, when Fate 
Depriv'd him of his ancient mate. 
She was a chaste and careful wife, 
Whose temper ne'er engender'd strife : 
For she had that commanding soul 
Which kept the Knight in due controul. 
Between them no one ever heard 
An unkind phrase, an angry word ; 



94 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

No one e'er witness'd a dispute ; 
For when she spoke the Knight was mute. 
Thus pass'd their tranquil life away : 
When she said yes, he ne'er said nay ; 
And would have thought it much amiss, 
When she said nay, should he say yes. 
At length this Dame, so good and kind, 
Left life — and all the world behind. 
Sir Peter wept o'er his disaster ; 
But, for the wound, he found a plaister; 
He felt, at last, that he was Master. 
But so it is with mortal state ; 
Or high or low, or small or great ; 
Contentment 's seldom known to find 
It's mansion in the human mind ; 
And soon the Knight began to own 
'Twas comfortless to live alone ; 
Nay, that to soothe his irksome life, 
He e'en would take another wife ; 
Would his deep mourning lay aside, 
Dress himself smart, and get a Bride. 

No sooner did this tale resound 
From place to place the country round, 
But ev'ry grave and maiden Lady 
Who had escap'd her sprightly heigh~day, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 95 

Began to think she had a chance 

Of joining in the nuptial dance. 

The Widows too began to dream 

Of a new matrimonial scheme ; 

But the old Knight had nought to say 

To Maidens grave, or Widows gay : 

He fill'd the neighbourhood with laughter, 

By fixing on a Lawyer's daughter. 



Miss Julia Docket had not seen 
Of Summer seasons quite nineteen ; 
And 'twas not often that the Spring 
Of life produced a fairer thing. 
She had been taught, by rod and rule, 
The graces of a Boarding-school : 
Was of a country town the boast, 
And of each neighb'ring 'Squire the toast. 
But Julia had contriv'd to part 
With that same Trinket call'd a Heart, 
And it was now consign'd to rest 
Within a gallant Major's breast; 
Who, at the time, was traveling far 
'Midst scenes of glory and of war. 
But Love — when faithful, just and true, 
Our worldly interest may subdue : 



Q6 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

So, when Sir Peter paid his vows 
And ask'd her to become his spouse, 
She star'd awhile — then off she scouted ; 
Let fall a shower of tears — and pouted. 
'. My Hero is both brave and true, 
Whom I love as I ought to do ; 
And when his duty call'd him o'er 
The Ocean to Iberia's shore, 
I pledg'd my faith that ne'er shall fail, 
Till Death concludes the flatt'ring tale. 
— The doting Knight shall not prevail.'- 
Thus she exclaim'd, in language bold, 
When to her wond'ring Sire she told 
The offer of the Man of Gold. 



1 Don't be a fool,' old Docket said, 
' Nor falsify your father's trade. 
Does not a stately mansion wait, 
To ope for you its willing gate. 
Where wealth invites, and at whose door, 
You '11 see your daily coach-and-four ? 
While all the pleasure gold can buy, 
A husband's fondness will supply. 
Will you from Fashion turn aside, 
And all the charms of titled pride, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 97 

Those wants and that distress to prove, 
Which wait on poverty and love ? 
For should the vap'ring Major live, 
Should he the chance of war survive, 
Half pay is all he has to give. 
Besides, to ev'ry eye 'tis clear 
Sir Peter cannot live a year. 
Your settlements I shall prepare 
With a paternal Lawyer's care. 
I shall employ my cunning skill 
To shape the am'rous Dotard's will ; 
And then I '11 make a swinging bill : 
Which, from pure love to you he '11 pay 
Without deduction or delay. 
Be to his fondling follies blind ; 
Be to his humours very kind ; 
And take the wealth he '11 leave behind. 
You then will be, by Fortune's bounty, 
The richest widow in the county. — ' 
Thus Docket's arguments assail'd 
His daughter's mind, and they prevail'd 

Julia, at length, consents to wed, 
But still the Major's in her head. 
Hymen performs his formal part ; 
But still the Majors in her heart. 

VOL. I.— G 



98 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

The wedding o'er, the days are spent 
In plenteous feasts and merriment : 
While many a minstrel doth unite 
In song and dance throughout the night. 
Sir Peter, us'd to live in quiet, 
Could not maintain this scene of riot : 
His health and spirits both were gone, 
E'er half the Honey Moon had flown, 
But, thus confin'd to gouty chair, 
She nurs'd him with assiduous care ; 
Or tun'd her voice, or touch'd the lute, 
Or read, as did his fancy suit. 

Now, it was one fine afternoon, 
That quite alone, and dinner done, 
When, while Sir Peter plied the glass ; 
Julia, to make the moments pass, 
Ask'd Fashion how she told her story 
In Ackermanris Repository, 
Where every month her whims display, 
With graceful art, the bright array 
That decks the Beauties of the day. 
— Thus, as she read, a creaking sound 
Call'd her to turn her head around ; 
When Henry at the window stood, 
All pale, as if by grief subdued. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 99 

She was surpris'd, but did not start. — 
1 You ever have possess'd my heart, — ' 
She fondly said ; — ' there, take my hand, 
And mind, my friend, what I command. 
Speak not a word, — but give good heed 
To the short tale I now shall read. 
That Dotard there, will never hear, 
For drink has stopp'd his list'ning ear. 
Nought but the cup his eye can see, 
Which it now views with ecstacy. 
Again, I tell you, give good heed 
To what I am about to read. 
Attend, while on the Page I look, 
And hear the Wisdom of the Book. 5 



* Fair Julia lov'd a soldier brave, 

* Who was, or said he was, her slave : 

• But, by his country call'd afar, 
1 To mingle in the toils of War, 

' He, by his well-tried honour swore, 
1 That when the toils of War were o'er, 
' Were he preserv'd for joys so sweet, 
1 He 'd lay his laurels at her feet ; 
1 And from the world's gay scenes remove, 
c To live with Julia and with Love : 



100 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

'That he should feel far greater pride 
' To dwell beneath some mountain's side, 
' Possess'd of her unrivalPd charms, 
1 Than keep in awe a world in arms. 
1 She heard his vows, and gave her heart ; 
c Nor were her tears the tears of art : 
1 When her eyes wept his fond adieu, 

* Her Words were warm, her Love was true. 
1 — At length the nations war no more, 

1 And Henry seeks his native shore. 

1 But ah, how great was his despair, 

1 What Fury did his bosom tear, 

1 When first the strange account he heard 

1 That his dear Julia had preferr'd 

s Another, impotent and old, 

1 To her young Soldier, brave and bold ; 

1 That Age and Avarice had led 

* His Julia to the Marriage Bed. 

' — He sought her, and requir'd to know 

* What fatal change had work'd his woe. 

' What had he done ? — What he should do. 
1 He knew too well, — for he was true. 

* His loss he should not long survive, 
' He soon, alas, should cease to live. 
1 O that in battle he had died !— 

* — That 's not my wish, she quick replied : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH IOI 

I But e'er you tell your heart to break, 

I I beg, my friend, you '11 let me speak. — 
{ — Think me not false, for I am true : 

1 Nay, frown not, — yes, to Love and 

you. 
1 Reason and Int'rest told me both, 
' To this old man to plight my troth. 
1 I had but little, you had less ; 
1 No brilliant view of happiness : 
' And though, within the lowest cot, 

* I would have shar'd your humble lot, 
' Yet, when the means I could possess 
1 Which would our future Union bless, 

* I gave my hand, th' allotted price, 
1 And made myself the sacrifice 

* When I was to the Altar led, 
1 Age and Decrepitude to wed, 

* The Old Man's wealth seduc'd me 

there, 
1 Which gen'rous Hymen bid me share ; 
1 And all, within a month or two, 
1 I hope, Brave Boy, to give to you. 
1 Behold, and see the stroke of Fate 
1 Suspended o'er my palsied mate : 
\ For Death, who fills his goblet high, 
1 Tells him to drink it, and to die. 



102 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



— And now, my Henry dear, depart 
With this assurance from my heart. — 
— I married him, by Heaven, 'tis true, 
With all his riches in my view, 

TO SEE HIM DIE AND MARRY YOU.- 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 103 



THE HUNTER UNKENNELLED 

The Sportsmen sat within the Hall, 



Waiting the Huntsman's jovial call, 

With active appetite they eat, 

The solid bounties of the treat ; 

And while their various feats they boast, 

Some famous Nimrod is the toast. 

Jack Rover, who would never balk 

His never-failing love of talk, 

With many a foul expression swore, 

That but the very day before, 

When in full chace, the hounds in play, 

A cursed Funeral cross'd the way, 

And he, and his horse Frank, together 

Leap'd o'er the Hearse, nor touch'd a feather. 

The party jeer'd, — again he swore, 

He 'd tell it till his life was o'er ; 

That he would boldly state the case, 

Though Death should stare him in the face : 

When, as attentive to his call, 

The Spectre stalk'd across the Hall. 



104 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

— One seiz'd the knife, another swore 
He ne'er saw such a sight before : 
Others popp'd off, full helter skelter, 
And, on the stair-case sought for shelter; 
While Jack, as quick as he was able, 
Sunk, slyly, underneath the table. 
The Phantom drew the drap'ry back, 
And, in a trice, unkennell'd Jack : 
When, after crying Tally-ho — 
He pois'd his dart and gave the blow : 
Then told his friends to shove Jack Rover 
Into the Hearse which he leap'd over. — 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 105 



THE GOOD MAN, DEATH, AND 
THE DOCTOR 

The Good Man dead, this Lesson gives 
It is another Angel lives. 
A Star has set for ever here, 
To glitter in a brighter sphere. 
Earth feels the loss when Virtue dies, 
To triumph in its native skies. 
The chamber where He breathes his last, 
Who, glancing o'er the time that 's past, 
Feels no reproach, nor calls on Fate 
To add a moment to his date ; 
But, led by smiling Hope, descends 
To that dark bourne where Sorrow ends ; 
That sacred Chamber far outweighs 
The brightest scene which Life displays. 
The rich, the potent, and the brave 
Must reach, at length, the certain grave : 
Nor is, alas, the difference great, 
Between the monumental state, 



106 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

That decks the mouldering remains 
Of him who serves and him who reigns ; 
No more, than that the human clod 
Rests 'neath a marble or a sod. 
Emblazon'd with a gilded show, 
The pomp or fallacy of Woe, 
The Rich Man fills the sculptur'd tomb ; 
While, where the vernal violets bloom, 
And rear their heads on church-yard green, 
The poor man's obsequies are seen. 

Each duty done, — the world subdued, 
How bless'd the Death-bed of the Good. — 
Whether beneath the dome we lie, 
Or in the straw-roof'd cottage die ; 
At that alarming, awful hour, 
No mortal envies wealth or power : — 
But he who, with experience sage, 
Has reach'd to life's maturer age, 
And seen and felt the various cares, 
Which man throughout his progress shares ; — 
He, who has haply learn'd to know 
Vice as the certain source of Woe, 
And Virtue as our Heav'n below; — 
He who considers fleeting Time 
The passage to some happier clime ; 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 107 

The stream that bears the virtuous o'er, 
To that eternal, promis'd shore, 
Where Pain and Sorrow are no more ; — 
He views the bed from whence the just 
Is borne to mingle with the dust, 
As the fix'd verge, on which 'tis given 
To see the boundaries of Heaven. 
When the world's landscape fades away, 
And night beclouds the closing day ; 
When to the heart the blood retreats, 
And the last pulse but faintly beats ; 
When the soft, whisp'ring sigh is o'er, 
Which the calm'd breast repeats no more ; 
Each duty done, — the world subdu'd, — 
How blest the Death-bed of the Good ! 

Eugenio liv'd as man should live ; 
He gave, as generous man should give. 
Whene'er he smil'd, his smile exprest 
Th' enliv'ning sunshine of the breast. 
Whene'er he wept, the willing tear 
Told Sorrow and Affliction near ; 
And Sorrow never came in vain, 
When he could mitigate the pain. 
From his wise mind the counsel flow'd ; 
His hand the needful aid bestow'd : 



108 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And rich and poor, who liv'd around, 
A blessing in his virtues found. 
The wife his chaste affections knew, 
And round his plenteous table grew 
Like olive branches, green and fair, 
The hopes of his paternal care. 
Learning he sought with pleasing toil, 
And sometimes burn'd the midnight oil, 
In adding to his copious store 
Of modern and of ancient lore : 
But still he kept his manners free 
From the stiff airs of pedantry ; 
Nor did his fancy ever stray 
To suit the fashion of the day : 
Nor did he flippant wit supply, 
Nor cloak his speech with ribbaldry. 
His well-weigh'd words were ever fraught 
With morals sound, and manly thought ; 
While each expression, mild and warm, 
Was fram'd to counsel, and to charm. 
He planted the Celestial Flowek, 
Which grows with Life's encreasing hour, 
But never yet was known to blow 
Within this vale of tears and woe ; 
It waits through endless years to bloom, 
Beyond the confines of the tomb ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 109 

There forms the everlasting wreath ; — 
The crown of Virtue after death. 



That crown, while health beam'd on his 
brow, 
And promis'd length of years below; 
That crown, which blessed spirits share, 
Eugenio was call'd to wear : 
For so it pleas'd the Almighty power 
Who measures out life's mortal hour, 
That, e'er his fortieth year was past, 
The best of men should breathe his last. 
He piously resigned his breath 
In all the majesty of Death : — 
One thought to those he lov'd was given, 
Then gave his willing soul to Heav'n. 
For he, who well his time employs, 
Though snatch'd from life's meridian joys, 
Feels no reluctance, knows no dread, 
When Fate conducts him to the dead. 
— Fly, ye profane — if not, draw near, 
And what Religion dictates, hear. 

1 Father ! to whose all-seeing eye 
■ Our thoughts and actions open lie, 



110 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

1 Thou know'st, in this afflicting hour, 

1 We bend before thy sacred power; 

1 And, taught thy pleasure to obey, 

1 Bless him who gives and takes away. 

1 But while thy justice makes us grieve, 

' Allow thy mercy to relieve : 

' Comfort, we ask, the widow'd heart, 

1 And, to the rising race impart, 

1 The noble, and the fond desire 

1 To share the virtues of their Sire. 

1 O grant, that they through life may run 

* The virtuous course which he hath done ; 

1 And feel, like him, at life's last hour, 

1 Thy beaming grace, — thy pard'ning power.' 



Thus, as the pious Churchman pray'd, 
The Doctor, in a whisper said, 
1 My skill in vain its power applies : — 
1 'Tis Fate commands ; the patient dies. 
' No call requires me now to stay : 
' I 've something else to do than pray. 
' I feel my Fee ' ;— ' Then hold it fast,' 
Said grinning Death, — c for 'tis your last.' 
The Doctor heard the dreadful sound ; 
The Doctor felt the fatal wound, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH III 

And hast'ning through the chamber door, 
Sunk down, all breathless on the floor, 

Ah, never more to rise again. 

— Thus Doctors die like other men. 



112 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



DEATH AND THE PORTRAIT 

By Love conducted Flavia came, 
(I must not tell her other name) 
To yield the charms that deck her face, 
Her Cherub smiles and Angel grace, 
To the accomplish'd Painter's art, 
Which to the canvas might impart 
The fair resemblance of a Maid, 
Whom Nature had so well array'd. 
Flavia was seated to receive 
The Likeness which that art could give, 
And while, obedient to his will, 
The pencil mark'd its rapid skill, 
Enamour'd Florio, who sat by, 
And trac'd the work with curious eye, 
By tender love and beauty fir'd, 
And as the faithful Muse inspir'd, 
In tuneful accents thus address'd 
The fond instructions of his breast. — 

{ Painter, vain 's thy utmost art 
1 To draw the Idol of my heart : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 113 

1 Thy canvas never can receive 

1 The varied charms her features give. 

' When, grave, she wears the awful grace 

' That 's seen in regal Juno's face : 

1 When on her cheeks the smiles appear, 

' 'Tis Venus better self is there ; 

' And when she looks with studious eye, 

1 Another Pallas we descry. 

' Painter, thy pencil well may trace 

1 A Juno's awful, heavenly grace ; 

1 Upon your easel may be seen, 

1 Chaste Beauty's fair, imperial Queen ; 

1 E'en Wisdom's goddess may appear 

' In all her native splendor there : 

' But in my breast alone can be 

' The perfect image of the Three.' 



Thus did the Muse the art defy : 
The Pencil, eager to reply, 
Dash'd on the cloth, in colours warm, 
The semblance of the lovely form. 
And now her smiling cheeks disclose 
The lily mingled with the rose ; 
And soon her beaming eyes dispense 
The soften'd rays of manly sense : 
vol. 1. — H 



114 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Her graceful form, her auburn hair, 
All, all the magic power declare. 
Loose flows the robe upon the ground, 
And many a Cupid flutters round : 
The bending branches kindly spread 
Their verdant beauties o'er her head, 
And, far beyond, the hills arise 
Which seem to mingle with the skies. 
At length, with happiest art array'd, 
The canvas' spreading form display'd 
The beauties of the charming maid. 
The Artist then avow'd his pride, 
And thus th' enraptur'd Muse replied.- 

1 Ah happy Canvas, that dost bear 
The features of my lovely Fair. 
Upon thy surface, mild and clear, 
I see the heavenly form appear, 
With all the glories of her face, 
Her winning smiles and gentle grace. 
— But where 's the virtue of her mind, 
Which makes her of Angelic kind ? 
Where is the softness of her heart, 
To pity prone and void of art ? 
These cannot on thy bosom shine : 
They 're only to be found in mine.' 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 115 

Thus did the Muse pursue her song ; 
Nor did she do the Painter wrong. 
Whatever bounties partial art 
By Genius aided, can impart, 
She knows are his, whose talents bear 
The marks of their united care. 
But frolic Nature will undo 
The works of Art and Genius too : 
Her cunning patterns render vain 
The Painter's toil, the Sculptor's pain. 
All of the Fair, that Art could give, 
Does on the glossy canvas live; 
In touches warm, and colours true, 
As Reynolds' pencil ever knew. 

Thus Florio sung, and Flavia heard 
The pleasing strain which Love preferr'd, 
Nor did the Painter's hand refuse 
The aiding impulse of the Muse. 

The Sitting o'er, the pair remove 
To talk of Taste, and think of Love. 
And while, as objects strike, they praise 
The various works on which they gaze ; 
A far, far different form appears, 
Bent with an heavy load of years : 



Il6 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

For a short time the Figure stood, 
The image of Decripitude ;— 

Then took his seat :- when Art began 

To sketch the good, old Alderman, 
Whose Portrait was to grace the wall 
Of Cordwainers' or Goldsmiths' Hall. 
The Painter mark'd the face of Age, 
And dignified the Civic Sage, 
With all the force and all the truth, 
Which had pourtray'd the grace of youth. 
At length, some yawning fits transpir'd 
That mark'd the Alderman was tir'd. 
' If, my good Sir,' the Painter said, 
' You wish the work to be delay'd ; 
' If, to retire it is your pleasure, 

* My pencil waits upon your leisure.' — 
1 I 'm in no hurry,' he replied, 

' But I slept ill last night : beside, 
1 To tell the truth, I cannot say 

* But I am out of sorts to-day ; 

* I have a feel I cannot name ; 

1 A kind of chill throughout my frame, 

* That seems to pour on ev'ry part, 
'And threatens to approach my heart : 
' Now, if you could some cordial give 

1 It might my languid state relieve.'-— 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 117 

1 That you shall have,' the Artist cried ; 
And soon his pallet laid aside : 
Then hasten'd with no common speed, 
To do the hospitable deed. 

Scarce had he made this kind retreat, 
When Death stepp'd in and took his seat : 
And soon he chang'd the whole design : — 
The lights which had been seen to shine, 
Were more than half-obscur'd in shade ; 
And dismal tints the whole pervade : 
The forehead 's moist with mortal dew ; 
The sinking frame appears to view ; 
The head reclines in calm repose \ 
The lips grow pale, the eyelids close ; 
The yielding hand can grasp no more, 
The crutch lies prostrate on the floor ; 
And, with one stroke, throughout the piece, 
All animation 's made to cease. 

— The Painter brings the promis'd aid, 
And views the change that has been made. 
He sees the Picture's alter'd state, 
And owns the master-hand of Fate. 

* But why,' he cries, ' should Artists grieve 

* When Models die, — if Pictures live ? ' 



Il8 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE GENEALOGIST 

Of all the Passions that infest 
The mansion of the human breast, 
Which trouble with continual strife 
The nobler Charities of Life ; 
That which stirs up the greatest pother, 
And claims to bear down ev'ry other, 
Is Pride, which seems to fill more room, 
More various titles to assume, 
Than any tenant we can find, 
Within the chambers of the mind. 
The Passion, doubtless, is the same, 
Or in the low or titled name; 
And may be trac'd up to the sense 
Of what is call'd Pre-eminence ', 
Whether in those who men command, 
Or such as drive their Four-in-Ha?id ; 
In busy Maid who plies the broom, 
Or Dame of Rank in Drawing-Room. 
Pride may be found in him who creeps 
Up chimnies, and those chimnies sweeps ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 119 

Or in his breast who day and night 

Climbs up Ambition's dizzy height. 

But 'tis not here the verse intends 

To mark the fair and noble ends 

Of Pride, too little understood, 

Which is a virtue in the good ; 

That dignifies th' exalted state 

Of those who are both good and great : 

That, sanction'd by right Reason's law, 

Keeps the submissive crowd in awe : — 

No, 'tis the Pride which makes men mad, 

And is a vice among the bad ; 

Or, bred in Fashion's motley school, 

Is a known folly in the fool, 

With vain and idle objects fraught, — 

That now awakes the moral thought. 

Thus, if we look around, 'tis seen 

That some are proud of being mean : 

Or, boasting of their various feats, 

Are even proud of being cheats : — 

Are not Attornies ever vain, 

Of cunning, tricking, and chicane ? 

They 're known to have a certain pride, 

In cheating all the world beside. 

Some vaunt their mighty power in drinking, 

As if 'twere praise to banish thinking. 



120 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

'Tis said, that Caelia has the trick 
Of being vain of being sick ; 
And that she feels superior grace 
In languid looks and pallid face ; 
That she would think herself a fright, 
And charge it as an act of spite, 
If Health should give the ruddy hue 
That decks the cheeks of Moll or 

Sue. 
If Shopkeeper or Artizan 
Wants to be thought a Gentleman, 
The Herald, first he humbly pays ; 
And then, in order due, displays 
His arms upon a one-horse chaise. 
The new-made Noble in the Gout, 
About his titles makes a rout ; 
Then bids the Carver ply his tool 
To aggrandise a footing stool 
With sculptur'd arms, that all may see 
The splendid show of Heraldry, 
Which, in his new-born honours great, 
He treads beneath his hobbling feet ; 
While on his gilded crutch is set 
The all-ennobling Coronet. 
Others, who boast an ancient race, 
And to remotest ages trace 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 121 

Of ancestors a noble line, 
Who through successive ages shine ; 
Whose proud and honourable name 
By Hist'ry is consign'd to Fame ; — 
Yet, if by Fortune's fatal frown 
The ancient Fabric tumbles down ; 
If by profuse or vitious taste 
The vast domains are brought to waste, 
Lament it as a dire disgrace 
To mix with an inferior race, 
Whose wealth would happily restore 
Their state to what it was before. 



Not so the old Lord Freeland, He 
Fond as he was of Ancestry, 
And ancient name, could not restrain 
Of wounded pride the daily pain. 
When debts unpaid assail'd his gate, 
And his domains refus'd the weight 
Of mortgages, whose loud demands 
Call'd for the sale of house and lands : 
While the axe menac'd all the wood 
Which round his noble mansion stood 
With stately, venerable grace, 
The boast and grandeur of the place. 



122 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

' Embarrass'd as I am,' said he, 

c I '11 not a noble beggar be, 

' If means of honour can be found, 

1 To heal my fortune's wasting wound. 

1 Ne'er have I England's rights betray'd ; 

1 No bribe my voice has ever paid, 

' Nor will I e'er my name degrade ; 

1 Nor shall its public fame be lost 

1 By Pension, or by servile Post.' 

In short, Lord Freeland had the 

wit 
To wed a very wealthy Cit ; 
And, on his golden wedding-day, 
All his distresses pass'd away, 
The bonny and the happy bride 
Adopts her lordly husband's pride ; 
And is most willing to forget 
All but the charming Coronet ; 
Nay, with remembrance is at war, 
Of all things East of Temple Bar; 
While he calls in the Herald's aid 
To hide the blot that has been made 
In the pure flow of ages three, 
The period of his pedigree. 
— 'Tis all arrang'd in order due, 
The splendid Roll 's expos'd to view : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 23 

The Man of Arms a tip-toe stands, 

And the fair scene of Blood expands : 

A finer Lineage ne'er was drest, 

With Ensign, Quartering, and Crest; 

True in all forms — and to the letter ; 

Sir Isaac never sold a better. 

The Peer, with much delight explains 

The blood that flow'd throughout his veins : 

My Lady too began to purr, 

That such fine blood belong'd to her. 

Thus as th' Escutcheons she survey'd, 

Cocking her glass, she gravely said : 

But, my dear Lord, are you quite sure, 

The Herald has left out the Brewer ? 

For 'twould not this fine roll exalt, 

To have it smell of Hops and Malt. 

My Uncled name I much revere, 

But do not wish to see it here. — 

— Be not alarm'd, my Lady dear ; 

His name your eye will never see, 

On any branch of our tree. 

Remember I Sir Isaac quote : 

— * Your Uncle never had a Coat' — 

My Lady in a passion flew ; — 
He lies, she cried, and so do you. — 



124 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

My good old Uncle dress'd as well 
(A truth his Taylor's bills can tell) 
As any Lord within the land, 
And could a little cash command ; 
This I, his Heiress, do declare : 
You know it too, who 're simp'ring there. 
The Herald, who may please to scoff, 
Would wear the cloaths which he cast 

off. 
He talk of dress — a scurvy fellow ; — 
Except, when dress'd like Punchinello, 
He stalks, as proud as he can go, 
A shape in some state Puppet show, 
His cloaths would scarcely tempt a 

Jew 
The shabby bargain to pursue. 
Or if the parsimonious brute 
Appears at times in velvet suit, 
All know 'tis furnish'd from a Pall ; 
His fee at some state Funeral. 
I '11 drive the sentence down his throat ; 
— That Uncle John ne'er had a Coat. — 
Cease, Lady dear, cease your alarms ; — 
The Herald meant — a Coat of Arms. — 
— That 's not so bad ; — but I can state, 
That He had Arms upon his Plate. — 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 25 

— My Lady dear, I think 'twere best 
That we should let the matter rest : 
Our argument will not prevail ; 
The plate was purchas'd at a Sale ; 
And the good Knight, a little vain, 
Thought fit to let the Arms remain. 
'Tis my advice, — your anger cease, 
And let the Herald live in peace. 
Our Honours will be more secure 
To sink the Bearings of the Brewer. 

Thus, while they talk'd the matter o'er, 
The splendid Roll sinks on the floor ; 
And lo, a sight brimful of fears : — 
The Herald 's gone, and Death appears. 
His Lordship starts, and shakes, and falls : 
My Lady stares, and screams, and squalls. 
' Make not,' said Death, 'this mighty stir; 
1 You 're now a wealthy Dowager, 
1 And may, perhaps, for many a year, 
1 Live on, the Widow of a Peer, 
1 But 'twere as well to lay aside 
1 This embryo of human pride. 
1 Whether from Priam you descend, 
' Or your Dad cried — Old chairs to mend; 
1 When you are summon'd to your end, 



126 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

1 You will not shun the fatal blow ; 
1 And sure, you 're old enough to know, 
1 That though each varying Pedigree 
1 Begins with Time, — it ends with Me.' 







- 2 

_ 2 

o a, 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 27 



THE CATCHPOLE 

Law is, or should the offspring be 
Of Justice and Humanity, 
And prove as plain as A, B, C. 
Should go strait forward on its way, 
Nor e'er be subject to delay : 
No crosses should its steps prolong 
To what is right, or what is wrong. 
The Law is just, the Law is good, 
While suffer'd to be understood ; 
But 'tis the Practice that confounds it, 
Winding its mystic Nonsense round it ; 
And such fallacious arts possessing, 
It to a curse converts the blessing. 

Practice, the fruit of am'rous sport, 
In Kings Bench Walks, or Fig- Tree Court) 
What time Contention did constrain 
To his embrace the Fiend Chicane ; 
When, drugg'd with pleadings, Justice slept, 
While Reason saw the deed, and wept. 



128 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Then issued forth the Parchment brood 
Of Writs, ill-fated brotherhood ; 
Born to entangle and perplex, 
Their Cradle, — the Attorney's desk : 
Fi Fa's, Ca Sa\ and all the fry 
That fill the Catchpole's Diary ; 
Then crabbed Special Pleading comes, 
With all its Clerks, and all its Bums, 
O Special Pleading ! — what an Art 
T' enlarge the mind, and mend the heart ! 
O Special Pleading ! what a Science 
To bid all Common Sense defiance, 
Which not an head can understand, 
Unless 'tis deck'd with wig and band. 

But He, perhaps, is worth the knowing, 
Who sets all these fine things a-going. 

Your foul Attorney is a wretch, 
That 's far inferior to Jack Ketch. 
— When grave, lamenting Law has done 
Its justice on some wicked one ; 
That minister performs his part 
Or on the scaffold, or the cart : 
Life 's the due forfeit of the deed : 
The Felons hang — the Traitors bleed : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 29 

Convicted crimes their fate endure, 
And life and limb are more secure. 
— But, 'tis the Pettifogger's art, 
With practis'd craft, and flinty heart, 
With Fictions, Quirks, and tardy Pleas, 
To aid th' accumulating Fees. 
He lifts his head at others' ruin, 
Nor fears to profit by undoing : 
Of his whole Life the great intent 
Is to perplex and circumvent ; 
He guides his keen, voracious sense, 
With all the zeal of impudence ; 
And pledges it a just vocation 
To quicken by Procrastination. 
With the vile Catchpole at his heels, 
Think you the Pettifogger feels 
For aught, but how the Suit proceeds ? 
Nay, he will mock the heart that bleeds. 
He idly jokes, or pertly prates 
O'er the distress he meditates ; 
And cheers, with looks alert and gay, 
The blood-hound to his destin'd prey. 
Will he not smile when Knavery gains 
The pelf which Honesty disdains? 
Think you he frowns when Rascals thrive, 
And Virtue struggles hard to live ? 
vol. 1.— 1 



130 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

What 's it to him though orphans mourn, 

Though husbands from their wives are torn, 

Though houseless children, turn'd abroad, 

Ask alms, or pilfer on the road, 

So that low-born Contention reigns ; 

The Daemon that rewards his pains. 

Such Caitiffs vile will risk their souls 

In cheating honest men and fools, 

Had I the pow'r, as I 've the will, 

My patriot wishes to fulfil ; 

Justice at length should fully meet 'em, 

And with the Laws of Turkey greet 'em : 

To such as these I 'd give no quarter, 

But pound the rascals in a mortar. 1 



To cure these evils Redesdale came, 
An ever venerated name ; 
Who, for his labours to improve 
The rights of Justice, and remove, 
With wise reform, the cruel power 
• That prey'd on Freedom's rightful hour, 
And save Misfortune from the thralls 
Which dwell within the Prison walls, 

1 The Lawyers in Turkey, in certain cases of criminality, suffer 
death in this manner. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 131 

Deserves as well the sculptur'd stone 
As e'en the laurell'd Wellington. 
— The one, amid the Fields of War, 
Chain'd Fortune to his rapid car, 
And to blest Britain's cherish'd name, 
Adds a resplendent wreath of Fame : — 
— The other forms his well-wrought plan, 
To aid the civil rights of Man ; 
And through his country to increase, 
The blessings of domestic Peace. 



But 'twill appear, in every view, 
As the Muse doth her tale pursue, 
Tho' much is done — there 's much to do 



Honest Tom Frolicsome was known 
At ev'ry Coffee-house in Town. 
No one more free from pride or art, 
Or e'er could boast a warmer heart : 
He never saw a luckless friend 
To whom he did not give or lend ; 
Nor e'er was known to be unwilling 
To share his guinea or his shilling. 
— It so fell out that one fine day, 
He met Jack Shiftly in his way ; 



. J 



132 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Who told a melancholy tale, 

How Lawyers threat, and Duns assail. 

So Tom, to save him from the paw 

Of the fell Myrmidons of Law, 

Consented kindly to be bound 

In the vast sum of Twenty pound. 

Jack, with profound professions, said, 

1 Within the month it shall be paid.' 

The month soon pass'd, and it occurr'd 

To honest Jack to keep his word; 

But, as his debts he could not pay, 

Why Jack took fright and ran away, 

And left his friend to be the debtor, 

With all the threats of Lawyer's letter. 

But Nathan Shark not only wrote, 

He paid a visit with the Note ; 

For e'en a rap at any door, 

Would tell for Six and eight-pence more : — 

But friendly Tom, whene'er at home, 

Was ne'er denied, let who would come. 

— Good Mr. Shark, says Tom, d 'ye see, 

This is a trifling sum to me : 

But it so happens that, just now, 

My Banker's book is rather low ; 

And, as the Debt is not my own, 

A fact to you so clearly known ; 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 133 

And as I 'm sure, you won't deny 

My honour and ability, 

If till Monday next you wait, 

Th' indulgence will not be too great : 

At ten o'clock, you '11 send or come ; — 

I will engage to be at home, 

When your demand I '11 truly pay, 

With thanks, for your four days' delay. 

Shark bow'd and smil'd; for here he 

saw 
There was a loop-hole for the Law. 
To wait would never make a bill, 
Nor help the Lawyer's purse to fill ; 
So the next day, as Tom was walking, 
And with two charming Misses talking, 
Dick Catchpole did the party meet 
And, with a Writ, his Honour greet. 
— You are arrested now you know, 
And so with me you e'en must go, 
Whether it is your will, or no. 
This fellow was a perfect brute, 
A Sheriff's vilest substitute : 
His wishes base, his purpose dark, 
Just a fit instrument for Shark. 
His housebreaking, burglarious Sire, 
Did before Newgate wall expire ; 



134 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And his Dam kept a Little-Go : 
When, for a trifling trick or two, 
She, by due course of law was sent 
Safe to Port Jackson, to repent. 

Tom's ruddy cheeks lost all their blood ; 
But when he found how matters stood, — 
Why then, said he, the debt I '11 pay ; 
And let me go, without delay. 
No, no, said Dick — that will not do ; 
I know a better thing or two : 
I can't tell what the costs may be ; 
And, till they 're paid, — you '11 rest with me. 
So no more words, — for you must come 



— Then send to Shark. — He's not at home: 
He to a Ven'son feast is gone 
At Wandsworth, or at Wimbledon : 
Therefore, come on, and rest in peace, 
To-morrow you '11 have your release. 

Thus, as he told his stern command, 
A griesly Spectre's fleshless hand 
His shoulder touch'd : — It chill'd his blood, 
And at the sight he trembling stood. 
— You long have ow'd, the Phantom said, 
What now must instantly be paid. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 35 

— O give me Time ! Thou Caitiff Dun, 

You know, full well, you gave him none. 
Your Life's the debt that I am suing; 

'Tis the last process, Master Bruin. 

— I '11 put in Bail above; No, no : 

Old Nick shall be your Bail below. 



136 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE INSURANCE OFFICE 

Self-Interest by some is said, 
To be the universal trade 
Which men of ev'ry rank pursue ; 
And if, what some folks say, be true, 
Of ev'ry kind of Woman too. 
For wealth the Sailor ploughs the main, 
The Merchant thinks of nought but 

gain ;— 
We even see superior sense, 
And all the powers of eloquence, 
Nay, ev'ry impulse of the breast, 
Yield to the calls of Interest. 
But if nor base, nor sordid view 
Blends with the purpose we pursue, 
If sage Discretion's cautious art 
Corrects the errors of the heart ; 
If Prudence o'er the plan presides, 
And for its ends the means provides, 
Which, pointed to some rightful use, 
Shall tranquil Happiness produce : 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 37 

'Tis that Self-Int'rest— that Self-Love 
Which Truth and Virtue must approve ; 
And gives perfection to the plan 
That ought to govern social Man. 

How easy then to draw the line 
Between the motives that combine, 
To guide the intellectual power 
Whose regulation rules the hour 
Which fills the short, uncertain span 
Allotted to the race of Man. 

'Tis Good or Evil. Passion's flame 

That lights to deeds of splendid name, 
Or the temp'rate warmth benign, 
Whose rays on humble Virtue shine, 
Alike, by different means, possess, 
The varied boon of Happiness. 

Beneath her roof domestic Care, 
The daily labour doth prepare. 
The Father, anxious to provide 
For the young Offspring by his side ; 
The Mother, with her infant press'd, 
In doting fondness, to her breast ; 
The bounteous Man whose open door 
Receives the wand'rer and the poor; 



138 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

The Hero, in his banner'd car, 
Smiling amid the scenes of war ; 
The learned, philosophic Sage 
Who toils to teach a listening age, 
And Piety, that points the way 
To regions of eternal day ; 
Each has an Int'rest to pursue, 
And keeps the fav'rite point in view, — 
The Interest, well understood, 
In each condition, to be Good ; 
And that true Happiness to know 
Which Virtue only can bestow. 



But less exalted views, we trust, 
May still be honest, and be just ; 
And Int'rests, less refin'd, may be 
Pursu'd with strict propriety. 
Wealth may be sought without a vice, 
For Prudence is not Avarice. 
The gen'rous, independent spirit, 
Which 'tis a blessing to inherit, 
In all its energies depends 
On the right use of means to ends. 
Nay, 'tis the use of these same tools 
Distinguishes Wise Men from Fools. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 39 

— A reason soon will rise to view, — 
Why we may add Wise Women too. 

Tir'd of a stupid single state, 
Ned Freeman took a charming mate. 
He was a man of some degree, 
Renown'd for hospitality : 
And all those virtues we admire 
In him who 's dubb'd a Country 'Squire. 
Health beam'd upon his smiling face ; 
His cheeks display'd a ruddy grace. 
His jolly form, and visage, bore \ 

The marks of thirty years, or more, r 

And look'd as he might reach threescore. J 
Such was the subject of their chat 
One evening as this couple sat, 
And ponder'd o'er, like man and wife, 
The prospect of their future Life. 
She was a tender, faithful Spouse, 
Obedient to her marriage vows ; 
Nor, like some wives, was fond to boast, 
That she, at home, could rule the roast. 
But Mrs. Freeman ne'er would balk 
Her fancy, when she chose to talk. 
And then dear Ned t but not through fear, 
Would hold his tongue, and lend his ear. 



140 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

This evening she had much to say, 
And told it in her usual way. 



— I know, my Dear, you love me well, 
As I am very proud to tell \ 
And to confess, I am most willing, 
You married me without a shilling : 
But what disgrace 'twould be, you know, 
Were you to die and leave me so : 
Nature, in all her freaks and fun, 
Has never given us a Son ; 
And there 's no jointure, Sir, for me 
Without that same Contingency. 
For your Estate 's so bound and tied, 
So settled and transmogrified, 
(A thing one scarcely can believe) 
You 've not a thousand pounds to leave. 
— To you, my Love, I trust in Heav'n, 
The promise of long life is given, 
And were I sure 'twas Heaven's intent 
To take me first, I 'd be content : 
But you, I fear, my dearest Life 
Are ten years older than your wife. 
Besides, your spirit in the Field : — 
To you the boldest Hunters yield ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 141 

And should He not his ardor check, 
My Ned, perhaps, may break his neck ; 
And then, in that impoverish'd state, 
Say, what would be your widow's fate ? — 
I know it well, — I act no part : — 
Your Widow then would break her heart. 
Is't not enough that, o'er the grave 
Of him I lov'd my grief must rave ; 
But I, to aggravate my cares, 
Must be dependent on his Heirs ! 
They hate me now, — illiberal men ! 
Nor can I think they'd love me then. 
'Squire Freema?is Relict must not live 
On any thing they chuse to give. 

— The tears now flow'd, and honest Ned 
Pinch'd her plump cheek, and kindly said, 
Weep not yet, Girl, I am not dead : 
And, if we live another day, 
The Mail shall bear us on our way, 
With rapid haste, to London town, 
Where all you wish for shall be done. 
To prove how much I love my wife, 
By Jingo, I'll insure my Life; 
And if kind Fate is pleas'd to give 
Ned Freeman but ten days to live ; — 



142 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Then, if he dies ; — why, I '11 be bound 
You shall be worth ten thousand pound. 
At length arriv'd, — with spirits light 
From the refreshments of the night, 
The parties leave the Two-neck'd Swan, 
Or for the Globe, or Pelican, 
When they explain, with all due care, 
The object of their errand there. 



The Doctor 's call'd — his eye to throw 
On the good 'Squire from top to toe. 
The sage Director stands beside 
In dictatorial pomp and pride, 
Th' important Scrutiny to guide. 
— Doctor, — you'll now be pleas'd to 

scan 
The features of that Gentleman ; 
And tell us, whether that round paunch 
Has been nurs'd up by ham and haunch 
Say, if that vast protuberance 
Comes from ill habits, or from chance. 
Think you that crimson glow is health, 
Or form'd by drink, or made by stealth. 
Those legs, which now appear so stout, 
Have they been tickled by the Gout ? — 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH J43 

— And, Doctor, for your private ear, 

Does not this Country 'Squire appear 

Older, at least, by half a year 

Than what he has been pleased to state ? 

— May we trust the Certificate ? — 

To this the Doctor sage agreed : — 

The Office then was duly feed ; 

And sign'd and seal'd each formal deed. 

Now Death, who sometimes loves to wait 

At an Insurance Office gate, 

To baffle the Accountant's skill 

And mock the calculating quill, 

Had just prepar'd his cunning dart 

To pierce Ned Freeman's tranquil heart :- 

But lest the stroke should cause dispute, 

And Lawyers conjure up a Suit, 

Death was determined to delay 

Ned's exit to a future day ; 

And the dull moment to amuse, 

He turn'd— and kill'd a pair of Jews. 

Thus was the Husband's life insured, 
And the Wife's future wealth secur'd. 
Then to their Inn they went to dine : 
And while the 'Squire enjoy'd his wine, 
Madam, thus thought she might impart 



144 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

The secret wishes of her heart. 

—Now, my dear Ned, as we 're in Town, 

And all this happy bus'ness done, 

We may as well a fortnight stay ; 

Go to Vauxhall — and see a Play ; 

With every sight which now occurs : 

The Grand Illustrious Visitors, 

Princes, and Cossacs, and Lord Mayors, 

And flaming Fire-works, and Fairs ; 

With all the noble, splendid train, 

Which London may ne'er see again. 

It will, no doubt, respect command 

To've had an Emperor by the hand. 

How great the boast, 'mong country folk, 

To say we 've seen old Blucher smoke. 

How, at my head they '11 stare, when on it 

They see an Oldenburghian Bonnet. 

— Hunting, you know, has long been done, 

And Harvest is not yet begun : 

Let us the interval employ 

These recreations to enjoy. 

'Squire Freeman, with his heart at ease, 

Happy and proud his wife to please, 

To grant her ev'ry wish consented, 

And smil'd to see her so contented. 

But Death had not forgot his Fiat — 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 45 

So bid a Fever set him quiet ; 
And e'er, alas, ten days were past, 
Honest Ned Freeman breath'd his last. 
The Doctor call'd, to certify 
His glowing health, now saw him die. 



Thus she, who lately came to Town, 
With not a doit that was her own, 
Weeping attends her Husband's hearse, 
With many a thousand in her purse ; 
And proves that she 's of Wives the best, 
Who knows her Real Interest. 



VOL. I. — K 



I46 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE SCHOOLMASTER 

Hermippus, as the Story 's told, 
A Schoolmaster^ in times of old, 
Is said to have drawn out his days 
As long, as Horace Walpole says, 
The Countess Desmond's Annals ran — 
To twice the common Age of Man, 
And that his Life did thus extend 
Beyond what Nature might intend, 
By the balsamic Breath of those 
Who did his youthful School compose. 
And while their Lips new health 

exhales, 
He drove in Learning at their Tails. 
Whether Ma'am Desmond did employ 
The Respirations of a Boy, 
Or blooming Girls, who breath'd perfume 
To purify her dressing-room, 
We neither know, nor shall we strive 
Into those hidden powers to dive 
That kept the Dame so long alive. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 147 

Nor shall we yet attempt to seek 'em 
In the old Age of Doctor Greekum. 
For years he now had reach'd fourscore, 
And yet he was for adding more ; 
Nay, envied ev'ry rosy boy 
Who did his learned care employ, 
Whene'er his Fancy might conceive 
How long the Child would have to live. 
But then the Rev'rend Pedant said, 
It was not that he felt afraid 
Of Death, or of his future fate, 
In that unknown and awful state, 
Which 'twas Religion to believe 
Would wait on those who cease to live ; 
But that he might secure his fame, 
Might eternise a learned name ; 
As one more Lustrum 1 would produce 
A work of such acknowledg'd use — 
So full of deep, recondite knowledge, 
That ev'ry School and ev'ry College 
Would, both in Greek and Latin lays, 
His Genius and his Learning praise. 
That finish'd, he would go to bed 
With joy, among the Honour'd dead. 

1 In Classic Authors, it appears, 
A Lustrum occupies Hvc years* 



148 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Such were the Doctrines of the Sage, 
Whene'er he talk'd about his age; — 
And such, at length, he had to plead, 
Where mortal reas'nings ne'er succeed : 
For, as he held the Sov'reign sway 
Whose rod submissive Boys obey, 
And look'd around him from his throne, 
Whose pow'r no subject dare disown, 
He, nor without emotion, saw 
A Shape who did that pow'r o'erawe, 
Who bade him from his seat descend, 
And on his Visitor attend. 

I know you well, the Doctor said, 
And that your will must be obey'd. 
The circling hours that in their flight 
Consume the day and waste the night : 
The circling hours and varying year, 
Convince us all is mortal here. 1 
In Spring the Winter melts away, 
The Spring is lost in Summer ray; 
Then Summer dies in Autumn's reign, 
And slow-pac'd Winter comes again : 

1 Immortalia ne speres, monet annus & almum 
Quae rapit Hora Diem. 
Frigora Mitescunt Zephyris, etc.— HOR. Lib. iv. Od. 7. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 149 

Again the balmy Spring returns ; 
And the fierce sultry Summer burns : 
The Autumn fruits again abound, 
And Time thus makes its yearly round : 
The Moon renews her silver light — 
But when we seek the depths of night, 
Where all the rich, the brave are laid, 
We 're only ashes and a shade. 
— I know you well, and understand 
To what you point your fleshless hand : 
I see you mark my final hour, 
And bend me to that awful power 
Which tells me I must soon be laid 
In the dark Tomb's eternal shade. 
That I may wish to live, is true, 
But not that I 'm afraid of you ; 
My only care's to leave behind 
A stock of Learning for mankind ; 
Which, had I some few years to live 
It would be Greekum's pride to give : 
But, though it is your will, I see, 
To rob the world of that and me ; 
You might have come without intrusion, 
Nor caus'd this bustle and confusion. 
No warning given : — 'Tis quite shocking 
That you should enter without knocking, 



150 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

In spite of the Horatian rule 

That 's taught in ev'ry Classic School. 

Mors JRu/sat, which, if I am pat in, 

The purport of the Poet's Latin ; 

And which, believe me, I who quote it, 

Know full as well as him who wrote it, 

Means that you should some notice give, 

E'er that you bid us cease to live ; 

That you should knock, at least, and wait, 

Till some one opes th' unwilling gate. 1 

Doctor, this Dart will neither speak 
In Hebrew, Latin, or in Greek ; 
But has a certain Language known 
In ev'ry age as in our own ; 
Which ev'ry clime will comprehend 
Until the world itself shall end. 
— Now, Horace had no other warning 
Than you receive this very morning ; 
When eighteen hundred years ago, 
Of this same dart he felt the blow. 
Besides, to him by Fate 'twas given, 
To quit this Life at Fifty-seven ; 

1 Pallida mors aequo pulsat pedte pauperum tabernas, 
Regumque turres, etc.— Hor. Lib. i. Od. 4. 

Pale-fac'd Fate 
Knocks at the Palace as the Cottage gate. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 151 

And you, sage Sir, have reach'd Four-score, 

E'er that your mortal Journey 's o'er, 

I ne'er but once my visit pay ; — 

My errand ne'er allows delay : 

But Time, you know, with his bald pate, 

Has long been knocking at your gate. 

— But you '11 at least these Urchins spare, 

They are my last — my only care. 

— I '11 hurt them not — I '11 only scare 'em : 
So die— and Mors est Finis rerum. 
Which, for your Scholars, I '11 translate — 
Death strikes the Learn'd, — the Little, and 
the Great 



152 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE COQUETTE 

Death is a very Proteus — He, 
(Where shall we find a simile 
To give a clear and proper notion 
Of the Scare-crow's perpetual motion ?) 
Sometimes, amid the fields of war 
Grimly rolls on his iron car; 
Where as he guides its rapid wheel, 
Thousands his bloody jav'lin feel : 
Then spreads his pinions to dispense 
The mortal breath of Pestilence ; 
And where his distant flight is sped, 
He gluts on regions of the dead. 
Then he the pois'nous sickle wields, 
That desolates the fruitful fields, 
Where meagre millions look aghast, 
And Famine aids the mortal blast. 
— Upon the foamy wave he rides, 
And the resistless whirlwind guides : 
So fierce the angry torrents pour, 
So loud the furious billows roar, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 53 

That the brave Seaman's cheek grows pale : 

Fearless no more, he quits the sail, 

And the proud Vessel, that defies 

The strength of mortal enemies, 

Yields her to the all-powerful blow, 

And sinks into the gulph below. 

— In the deep caverns of the Earth, 

He gives those dire commotions birth ; 

Which, by their elemental power, 

Shake down the Temple and the Tower, 

Whose lofty tops approach the skies ; 

While Man beneath the ruins dies. 

— From hence we turn. — To these vast deeds 

The common Episode succeeds : 

And now we view his hourly plan 

Against the general Life of Man. 

Here he assumes the Fever's heat ; 

The blood flows quick, the pulses beat ; 

There, in the trembling Ague quakes, 

When ev'ry chilly member shakes ; 

Or in an Asthma heaves the breast, 

That night and day refuses rest ; 

Or racking gout wrapt up in fur, 

That suffers not a limb to stir : 

And thus his various power employs, 

And thus the race of Man destroys. 



154 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

— But, 'tis not merely by Disease 
He doth his hourly victims seize ; 
He claims the Passions that impart 
Their impulse to the Human heart : 
They barb his dart with hopeless care 
Or the sharp fury of Despair, 
Or plant the ling'ring Sorrow there : — 
Ambition's sleepless lust of power, 
And Disappointment's madd'ning hour ; 
Or, in the form of raging Pride, 
He views the gasping Suicide. 
In the world's cares he plays his part, 
And, with a Law-suit, breaks a heart ; 
Or makes e'en Pleasure, light and gay, 
A trap to catch th' incautious prey. 
Thus Flavia, in her early bloom, 
„ Was summon'd to the silent tomb. 

Beauty was her's, and ev'ry charm 
That can the youthful bosom warm : 
She was the very soul of Pleasure, 
And Fashion's dear and darling treasure. 
She waited but the hour to fix 
A title, and a coach and six : 
For that she studied ev'ry grace 
Which aids the shape or decks the face, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH t$$ 

For that arrang'd her auburn hair 

In ringlets here, in tresses there ; 

How in the dance she best could move, 

To fan desire, and waken Love. 

These all her serious thoughts employ ; 

Nor does she guess at any joy, 

But what she thinks is to be found 

In the gay world's enchanting round : 

She never sought Reflection's aid, 

In Reason's ballance never weigh'd 

Or good or ill : the law alone 

That govern'd Flavia was — the Ton. 

Her sister died ; the tears she shed, 

Did not lament Corinna dead : — 

They flow'd that, for a month to come, 

She was forbid to stir from home ; 

And that for six, her form divine, 

Black crape and sars'net, should enshrine : 

For she ne'er heard that Beauty's queen 

Had e'er appear'd in bombazine. 

She little thought the sable dress 

That did upon her spirits press, 

That did the keen vexation stir, 

Would soon, alas, be worn for her. 

That she who could the town enslave, 

Would soon be sleeping in the grave. 



156 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

It was past twelve — but not yet one 
When sober folks to bed were gone, 
That Flavia, at her Toilette's duty, 
Receiv'd the aid that 's claim'd by Beauty ; 
Expecting Lady Jane to call 
To go to Lady Mary's Ball : 
But, as her lovely form receiv'd 
The robe which Fashion's hand had weav'd, 
A shape appear'd of such a mien 
As Flavia's eyes had never seen : — 
How dare you enter here, she said, 
And what's this saucy Masquerade; 

Who are you ? Betty, ring the bell. 

The Shape reply 'd 'Twill be your knell. 

I '11 save you from the swelt'ring crowd 
Form'd by the vain, the gay, the proud, 
For which your tawdry mind prepares 
Its fruitless, its coquettish airs. 
Lady, you now must quit your home, 
For the cool grotto of a tomb. 
Be not dismay'd ; my gallant dart 
Will ease the flutt'rings of your heart. 

He grinn'd a smile the jav'lin flies 

When Betty screams and Flavia dies. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 57 



TIME AND DEATH, AND GOODY 
BARTON 

A CAUSETTE 

Death 
Whence come you, and where are you going ? 

Time 

My old Friend Death! — why, I've been 
mowing : 
And here have got a pretty crop 
Within my common, trundling Shop. 
Nay, I am hastening now to sow : "j 

Though, at the Harvest, as you know, [- 
We never shall be call'd to mow. J 

For when that 's ripe, my ancient Friend, 
We shall shake hands, and find an end. 
In the mean time, I '11 play my part, 
And try to fill my daily cart : 
For full or empty I proceed, 
Or with the living or the dead. 



158 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

I trudge on, my old steady pace, 
But yet I always win the race ; 
And though I 'm sober in my gait, 
You know, I never stop to bait. 
Let whip, or spur, the courser goad, 
I shall o'ertake him on the road : 
For though he paces like the wind r 
At last, he will be left behind : 
Wind-gall'd, or spavin'd, or broke-down, 
He will my better bottom own : 
And you'll take care, with all your 

heart, 
To find me Luggage for my Cart. 
Aye — partners in one common toil, 
We still shall share the mortal spoil. 
— But what's your present burden, 

pray? 
The man 's dispos'd to disobey ; 
And while he shows that living face, 
With me he cannot have a place. — 



Death 

'Tis true, the Fellow makes a riot : 
There 's one jerk more — and now he 's 
quiet. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 59 

— But, Goody Barton, what 's this pother ? 



Goody Barton 

Pray stop the Cart, and take another. 
For since your Worship 's been so good, 
To snatch old Simon of the Wood, 
The plague of all the neighbourhood, 
Take this old Man j for, to be free, 
He long has been a plague to me. 
He married me at past three 

score, 
When I was blooming twenty-four : 
And, as I 've testimony here, 
He swore he should not live a year; 
And now, as true as God 's in Heaven, 
The lying rogue has liv'd eleven : 
While this brave Soldier, on his sword 
Has sworn, that he will keep his 

word. 
And he, bedeck'd with martial grace, 
Has promis'd to supply his place. 
— Now, take an injur'd woman's part, 
And shove him into yonder Cart. 
« — I hope my freedom you '11 excuse, — 
But I shall weep, if you refuse. 



160 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Death 

My Goody, 'tis too late to-day, 
Time 's moving on, and will not stay ; 
But be at rest, and save your sorrow ;■* 
The Cart will come again, to-morrow. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH l6l 



THE UNDERTAKER AND THE 
QUACK 

I wish I were among the wise, 
Who can the mind anatomise : 
Trace to its source, with certain art, 
Each impulse of the human heart : 
Of ev'ry action find the cause, 
By certain and unerring Laws ; 
And thus be qualified to state, 
Among the Little and the Great, 
What are the motives that precede 
Each private, or each public deed ; 
Or for what just or selfish end 
Man plays the foe, or acts the friend. 
This, I must own, I don't possess; 
And, therefore, I could never guess 
The reason why I see John Bull, 
This day a Wit, the next a Cull ; 
At times a Sage — and then a Fool. 
Examples, I 'm afraid, are plenty, 
But, I must pick out one from twenty. 
vol. I.— L 



162 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

It has been said, that Man's best 
wealth, 
And truly said, consists in Health ; 
Yet, what a Spendthrift of the blessing, 
As if it were not worth possessing. 
And then the folly is as plain, 
In means to get it back again. 
From hence there springs the Quacking 

race, 
Of Medicine the foul disgrace ; 
And such the folly which prevails, 
Though angry Reason frowns and rails, 
That oft th' Empiric cuts and carves, 
While Science, in a garret starves. 
What the Disease, or where the wound, 
For which a cure may not be found ? 
If you believe the boasted scrawl 
That 's pasted on each public wall. 
The Undertaker, passing by, 
Views it with no unwilling eye, 
Nor doth the idle vaunt upbraid, 
Which promises increase of trade ; 
And all the Med'cine Shops he sees, 
He thinks are Banks, for Sextons' fees : 
A personage to Church yards known, 
Whose welfare's blended with his own. 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 163 

In some old Town — no matter where, 
Screwtight had long possess'd the care 
Of building houses for the dead, 
Either of elm, or oak, or lead, 
According to the various state 
Of those who felt the stroke of Fate ; 
And, during thirty years, that He 
Had dealt in Man's mortality, 
He had consign'd to Holy Ground, 
Half of his country neighbours round ; 
A jovial Fellow too, was Ned : 
He 'd drink your health, and wish you dead : 
But, that was in the way of trade, 
Whose interests he duly weigh'd. 
He o'er the dead ne'er shed a tear 
But once, as you shall quickly hear. — 



A Doctor, who the art had found, 
Sometimes, to make a sick man sound ; 
And also had a cunning trick, 
As often, to make sound men sick ; 
While his Specific, Sovereign Pill, 
To cure all ails — would sometimes kill \ 
As he was one day riding home, 
Death fancied to be frolicsome : 



164 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And leaping on the Doctor's hack, 

Sat close and snugly, at his back ; 

And, as they reach'd Ned Screwtight's door, 

Death sneez'd — and Nostrum was no more. 

Ned bellow'd, as he view'd the sight, 

Which put the street into a fright, 

This day I never wish'd to see — 

Unlucky for my trade, and me. — 

— His wife exclaim'd — what 's all this rout ? — 

Here, bring him in, and lay him out. 

What 's got into your foolish Nob ? 

The man is dead — and you 've a Job. — 

Screwtight hung down his head and sigh'd. 

—You foolish woman, he replied — 

Old Nostrum, there, stretch'd on the ground, 

Was the best friend I ever found. 

The good man lies upon his back ; 

And trade, will now, be very slack. 

— How shall we Undertakers thrive 

With Doctors who keep folks alive ? 

You talk of jobs. 1 swear 'tis true, — 

I 'd sooner do the job for you. 

We 've cause to grieve — say what you will ; — 

For, when Quacks die, — they cease to kill. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 165 



THE MASQUERADE 

' Life is a Farce, and all things show it.' 
Thus far John Gay, — a pretty Poet. 
While others, I believe, have said, 
' That Life is but a Masquerade.' 
Some nervous people may conceive it : 
But hang me, then, if I believe it. 
These simple questions I would ask, 
If Honesty e'er wears a mask ? 
If Piety takes borrow'd airs, 
And in a Visor says its prayers ? 
When Charity serenely smiles, 
Is it a Virtue that beguiles ? 
When Public Men support the cause 
Of Justice and their Country's Laws, 
Can I suppose that they are brewing 
Some Mischief for that Country's ruin ? 
Or when the Soldier guards the throne 
As if its power were his own ; 
Should I consult or Truth or Reason, 
To fancy there is lurking Treason ? 



166 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Suspicion, or Lord Bacon lias, 
From Ignorance doth take its rise ; 
And vain would be the various knowledge 
Which I have gain'd at School and College, 
If I should have that wretched failing 
Which ends in Calumny and Railing. 

'Twas thus I mus'd, at close of day, 
As I upon the sofa lay : 
When Morpheus o'er my senses crept, 
And all my yielding nature slept. 
The subject of my waking hour 
Was carried on by Fancy's power ; 
And my fine Philosophic theme 
Was now transform'd into a Dream. 

I thought, I somehow, was convey'd 
To join a splendid Masquerade ; 
And that my youthful form was drest 
In some such mantle, robe or vest, 
As when Philosophy was gay, 
Might have bedeck'd old Seneca. 
— Some rang'd aloft — and some below 
Compos'd the motley, crowded show. 
The lights, in parti-colour'd blaze, 
Darted around their dazzling rays. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 167 

Here ev'ry aromatic flower 
Sweeten'd the gay inviting bower ; 
And there the festive board appear'd, 
While animating Music cheer'd. 
With all its bustle, singing, flirting, 
The scene to me was not diverting ; 
And calling Reason to my aid, 
I thought, I rather loudly said, 
Life cannot be a Masquerade. 
Thus, as I spoke, a Rev'rend Sage, 
As he appear'd, bent down with Age, 
In a commanding, solemn, tone, 
Made his superior Knowledge known. 



Though you assume, with so much care, 

A grave and Philosophic air ; 

It is your inexperienc'd youth 

That glosses o'er the real truth : 

This is the place where you may scan 

The portraiture of social man : 

Nor will your time be pass'd in vain, 

If you attend, while I explain. 

— See Falstaff's form ; — pray look at 

him, 
So full of ribaldry and whim : 



1 68 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And yet that paunch shields from the sight, 

A lean, pale, fawning Hypocrite ; 

Who feeds upon the daily care 

Of preaching penitence and prayer : 

Nay, to his groaning Saints will tell, 

A Masquerade 's the way to Hell. 

— What think you of that blooming fair 

Who wears the crescent in her hair, 

The semblance of a Virgin chaste 

With Dian's zone around her waist : 

But little do these emblems suit :— 

She 's an abandon'd Prostitute. 

— There 's a Peruvian Chief, so fine — 

He seems the Master of a Mine, 

Whose envied Treas'ry would unfold 

Ingots of silver and of gold. 

There 's Momus too, that foe to sorrow : 

— They '11 meet in the Gazette to-morrow. 

— Regard that Beggar, on her crutches : 

She is a young and lively Duchess. 

Present her alms, and she '11 receive 'em ; 

Though she has not yet learn'd to give 'em. 

— That stout, and well-made Pugilist, 

Who stalks about with well-clench'd fist ; 

And challenges to left and right, 

Inviting all to come and fight ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 69 

With this same very noisy fellow, 

A squeaking, hunch-back, Punchinello. 

Though their foul clamours never cease ; — 

At home they 're paid to keep the peace. 

For so, 'tis order'd by the Fates, 

They are two Police Magistrates. 

— Behold Apollo, with his Lyre, 

And hear him breathe Poetic Fire : 

But not a couplet is his own. — 

He is, in truth, the dullest drone, 

That palms his nonsense on the town, 

— See that gay Nymph, with what a 

bound 
She nimbly rises from the ground : 
Alas, those cheeks, where Health appears 
In gay disguise, are us'd to tears. 
What though her arms, with am'rous rant, 
Give their embrace to each gallant ; 
Next week she bids adieu to men, 
And goes into the Magdalen. 
— There's Justice, who expounds the Laws, 
And talks about the poor man's cause : 
Displays the scales, and shows the sword ; 
But you '11 not take the rascal's word. 
A Lawyer he, you may rely on 't ; 
Who never fails to squeeze a Client. — 



170 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

— Those Lords set out in Liv'ry gay 

Of red, and white, and blue, and grey ; 

With tassel'd hats, and shoulders proud, 

On which the epaulette 's bestow'd ; 

Who, thus array'd in Footman's dress, 

Would every Dame of rank caress ; 

As they salute the passing fair, 

But shew us what their Fathers were. 

— You may suppose, deck'd out in pladdie, 

He is some bonny Highland Laddie, 

Who his bold, war-like clan can trace 

Full as far back as Ossian's race, 

Whose broad sword would attack a cannon ; 

No, — he's an offspring of the Shannon. 

— That busy rogue, with rosy mien, 

His night-cap white, and apron clean, 

Who sharps his knife, has just forsook 

His banking shop, to be a cook. 

But, in his kitchen-dress, I scan 

The figure of an Alderman. 

Oh 'tis a gormandizing sinner, 

Who's life's chief object is a dinner. 

— There 's the Eighth Henry, all in state, 

So fat, so haughty, and so great, 

Who grunts command, and cries out — Ha ! 

He 's a spare member of the Law, 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 171 

Who, having not the power to kill 

A wife he 's tired of, at his will, 

Is glad at home to read a brief 

That bids him strive to hang a thief. 

The artful baggage who is pulling 

His tinseFd sleeve, is Anna Bullen ; — 

By her the Tyrant is not dreaded, 

Nor does she fear to be beheaded. 

She is a Lady at command, 

Who oft has strok'd a Lawyer's band. 

— Look at the nymph, so light, so slim, 

Array'd in all the flow'ry trim, 

In the half-transparent dress 

Of some Arcadian Shepherdess : — 

With what an air, her crook she waves, 

As if to awe her Shepherd slaves, 

But not as if she wish'd to keep 

In Arcady, a flock of sheep. 

Then view the Turk, who now pursues her, 

And with such am'rous motions woos her, 

Not words alone his passion prove : — 

A proffer'd purse proclaims his Love. 

Charm'd with her shape, and winning grace, 

What would he give, to see her face ! 

In keen Resentment's ready pride 

She turns the painted Mask aside, 



1/2 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And shews that face ; — away he flies, 

As if some Dsemon in disguise, 

Had aim'd a dagger at his life : 

Twas no such thing, unless a wife, 

From such an husband to escape, 

Can show at will some horrid shape. 

'Tis but two years, since they were wed, 

When Love its crimson roses shed 

Around their couch ; and deathless vows 

Were breath'd by each enamour'd spouse, 

But so it was, that, e'er the Sun 

Had his allotted circuit run, 

She to the Laws address'd her suit, 

To save her from the horrid Brute. 

The Laws were kind to her entreating, 

And she no longer fears a beating ; 

But, as you see, at large can prance, 

Clad in a separate maintenance. 

— That figure there, with look profound, 

His eye commercing with the ground, 

Whose beard so long, so white with age, 

Is the fit Costume of the sage : 

Would, as it seems, appear to be 

The essence of Philosophy. 

But He 's no Clerk, — though, arragh burn ye, 

Pat was brought up as an Attorney ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 73 

And now his Fame and Purse encreases, 
By writing Rhymes instead of Leases ; 
Of other Authors makes a hash, 
And thus works up the flimsy trash, 
That each revolving month is seen 
To flourish in a Magazine. 
He meditates how he shall write 
On all he hears, and sees to-night ; 
That in some Journal, he may say, 
How this Diversion past away : 
And be assured, the pond'ring elf 
Will not omit his pompous self. 
— Regard that sighing love-sick swain, 
Who, in the cloak and plume of Spain, 
To ev'ry damsel doth complain, 
And, to the lute's respondent strings, 
Some tender, am'rous ditty sings : 
The youth has stole a march from College, 
Without his surly Father's knowledge ; 
Who, while he sings his am'rous strain, 
Is fast asleep in Philpot Lane. 
His pride is to be thought a Poet, 
And here the Student comes to shew it. 
Again he sings, 'twere well to hear him ; 
And, if his verse is good, we'll cheer 
him. 



174 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Recitative 
As I wander through the grove, 
Thus I sing in praise of Love. 
Ye powers of Harmony inspire, 
And aid me as I strike the Lyre. 
All my heart's secret pulses move, 
While thus I hail thee — Heavenly Love. 

Song 

Thee feels the rough Norwegian in his cot, 

Thick ribb'd with ice and pil'd with snow ; 

The flne-nerv'd Persian, stretch'd in sultry grot : 

Feels thee a fiercer sun within him glow : 
And wild with Love, and flaming with desire, 
Feeds, self-tormented, feeds, the soft Idalian fire. 

To thee the pale-ey'd cloister'd fair 
With fond devotion fills her eyes ! 
'Tis not to Heav'n she wafts her sighs, 
To thy embower'd altar flies the prayer. 

For thee, the azure-ey'd Circassian pines, 
What time in all her youthful grace, 
And Beauty's bloom, unto the loath'd embrace 
Of some proud Sultan, she her charms resigns ; 
For thee, her cause and end, celestial Love she 
pines. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 175 

Tis not the heat of rash desire, 
Midst banquets born and floods of madd'ning 
wine, 
When Love's soft passion first appears divine, 
Nor what the Harlot's glances can inspire ; 
Nor ought perfum'd that breathes the high-born 

dame, 
Whose painted cheeks, Fashion's fond fools 

admire : 
Love 's more sublime, a far more sacred fire. 

Recitative 

Begot by Beauty on the eyes, 
From the heart produc'd in sighs ; 
On smiles it feeds, on smiles the pride 
Of reason, to the brute deny'd. 
— As I wander through the grove, 
Thus I sing in praise of Love !— 

Well done, my Bard, — your verse is true : 
You sung it well, — and wrote it true. 

— Such is the scene, — and, trust to me, 
Of Life such is th' Epitome : 
Whether your years are few or many, 
You '11 find this is Life's miscellany. 



176 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Yes, you '11 remember who display'd 

The moral of the Masquerade. 

— I 'm like the rest, — my game I play, 

I wear a mask as well as they : 

And not a moment I 'II defer 

To show my real character. 

— 'Twas Death himself, and by my side, 

He rose in grim and griesly pride. 

The music ceas'd — the lights burn'd blue, 

And all was horrid to my view. 

He pois'd his dart, and danc'd along, 

With rattling step, amid the throng. 

Some screamed their fears, and others fled 

While the Shape pac'd it o'er the dead. 

At length, methought, I felt his stroke : — 

And glad I was, when I awoke. 



— Though I 'm grown old, I 've not forgot 
The lesson which the Vision taught ; 
And own, though with a sigh or two, 
Too oft I found— The Vision True. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 177 



THE DEATH BLOW 

To what does Britain owe her Fame, 
Her honour, and superior name, 
With all the splendour of her Glory, 
In ancient, and in modern story ? 
Where'er her Colours are unfurl'd, 
Where'er her war-like Thunder 's hurl'd, 
Or on the Land, or on the Sea, 
She is the Child of Victory. 
— Is it to Commerce that she owes 
The name which all the world bestows ? 
Wealth may afford its pow'rful aid, 
But Glory is not gain'd by Trade. 
Cowards, 'tis true, are sometimes bold, 
To shield from Force the treasur'd gold \ 
Nay, half-starv'd Av'rice will be brave 
From pilf'ring hands his bags to save : 
But this strange passion of the hour, 
Derives from Fear its transient power. 
Say, is it Freedom that inspires 
The bosom with its early fires ? 
vol. 1.— M 



178 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

That is a motive to incite 

The embattl'd Phalanx to the fight : 

But Boys are brave, while in their teens, 

Before they know what Freedom means 

No, though the cause I cannot scan, 

'Tis Nature forms an Englishman. 

'Tis Nature's powers that impart 

Its courage to the British heart : 

'Tis the Home Combats that prepare 

The Hero for the feats of War. 

It is the triumphs of the Fist, 

The contest of the Pugilist, 

'Tis these that discipline the Will 

To future darings, and instill 

The Spirit that ne'er knows to yield 

In contests of the tented Field ; 

And teach the Seaman to sustain 

The bloody conflict of the Main. 

How oft we see John Bull delight, 
To court the fierce, domestic fight, 
Where no base, angry passions lead 
To murd'rous act, or vengeful deed \ 
Where Honour is the darling Meed : 
Tho', sometimes, to reward the bold, 
The Conq'eror shares the wager'd gold. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 79 

From Art, no cov'ring he receives, 
His arms are those which Nature gives : 
In native strength, he scorns to wield 
The Spear, the Broadsword, or the Shield. 
No helmet glitters on his brow, 
His brawny breast is bare below. 
The well-cropt hair his temples crown, 
Or brown, or fair, and all his own. 
The blows proceed from well-clench'd 

fist, 
The strong-nerv'd arms those blows resist ; 
And though by some judicious knock, 
An eye is clos'd — a jaw is broke : 
Or by some well-directed blows, 
The blood comes gushing from the nose ; 
And tho' the ribs may change their hue, 
On being beaten black and blue ; 
Or lifted up, 'twixt earth and Heaven, 
A fierce cross-buttock may be given 
To him who, whatsoe'er his science, 
When strength commands, must yield com- 
pliance : 
But, when the Battle 's lost and won, 
And all th' enliv'ning Hubbub's done, 
Peace soon resumes her former reign, 
And all is harmony again, 



180 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

What, tho' the vanquish'd Hero 's led 
Hobbling away to seek his bed, 
And e'en the Conqueror, opprest 
With weighty blows, has need of rest ; 
Yet here the short-liv'd fury ends, 
And the fierce foes are instant friends. 



One of our modern Statesmen thought, 
A man, with various wisdom fraught, 
That this same pugilistic art 
Did courage to the mind impart \ 
And that each battle which is seen, 
'Mong country folks upon the Green, 
Where tender smiles might be the prize 
Of him who clos'd a rival's eyes, 
Would urge the Youth to seek the fame 
Which waits upon a Soldier's name. 
— I am delighted to agree 
With this great Man's philosophy ; 
Which, to confirm, I 've got a story, 
That tells of Death, as well as Glory. 

Harry from Sheffield^ Tom from Town> 
Experienc'd Boxers of renown, 
Had met to fight near Epsom Down, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH l8l 

Who the keen Bottle-holders were, 



Or who the Champions did prepare, 

Were names too crabbed to rehearse 

In the soft melody of Verse ; 

And they who kept the well-fenc'd ring 

The Muses do not chiise to sing. 

Thither the Amateurs repair, 

The noble Fanciers all were there — 

And thousands from the country round, 

Were seen on the enchanted ground. 

Smart Gigs and Curricles appear, 

While slow-pac'd Carts bring up the rear. 

That glorious day, 'twas who could get 

A Horse, or Chaise : — they all were let. 

In London, many a sooty Son 

Of labour, left his work undone ; 

And trudg'd through heat, and dust to see 

The Pugilistic Chivalry. 

And all the Kiddies were awake, 

The Bets to offer, or to take. 



The Combatants at length appear'd — 
A thousand tongues their presence cheer'd. 
They stripp'd, and to the eager eye, 
Display'd their strength and symmetry. 



1 82 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Harry, Herculean shape possess'd, 
While Tom's superior form was dress'd 
In those proportions that might grace 
A Figure of Celestial Race ; 
Such as the Bards of ancient days 
Have sung in their immortal Lays, 
And to the Sculptor might impart 
The antique beauties of his Art. 
Both stood erect, in manly tread, 
An Ajax and a Diomede. 



At length, th' impatient Fight began : 
'Twas hand to hand and man to man. 
Some lively sparring first took place, 
And then a blow on either face. 
Again for mastery they try, 
And then a hit on either eye. 
Each Hero for advantage watches : 
Tom aim'd a blow which t' other catches ; 
Then, as they both th' occasion seek 
Strongly to strike, Tom's ruddy cheek 
Receiv'd a Hit beneath the eye, 
That made the crimson fluid fly ; 
And the conclusion of the round 
Is Tom from London on the ground. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 83 

A Facer is the term that 's us'd, 
Nor would the Slang have been refus'd 
But that the Muse, though fond of chime, 
Capriciously denied a rhyme. 



In various way the Betting ran, 
But Harry was the favourite man. 



Now Tom broke through his rival's guard, 
And of this movement the reward 
Was, with the quickness of a bullet, 
To force a hit on Harry's gullet. 
His ev'ry effort seem'd to tell ; 
And the round clos'd when Harry fell. 

Five minutes now had pass'd away, 
In sparring, and such cautious play, 
When Harry, all his strength address'd 
To place a blow on Tommy's breast. 
The stroke resounded like a drum : 
It seem'd as if Tom's end was come ; 
But no — for he contriv'd to place 
An active Hit on Harry's face. 
And of this round, no more 's to tell — 
Than that they clos'd, and that they fell. 



1 84 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Now Harry seiz'd his rival's thighs, 
And forc'd him from the earth to rise ; 
Then did his utmost vigour strain, 
To throw him to the earth again ; 
And, with his own incumbent weight, 
Oppress'd him, in that helpless state. 
But, like Antaeus, as we 're told 
By those who sung in days of old, 
Tom seem'd, when he had touch'd the ■" 

ground, 
With strength augmented, to rebound, 
Prepar'd to take another round. 



A desperate Rally now took place, 
Tom fix'd a Hit on Harry's face. 
Harry inflam'd, with anger burn'd, 
And such a Leveller return'd, 
So fierce a blow upon the head 
That Tom fell, and profusely bled. 
The time was past, — nor could he rise, — 
His breath heav'd short, clos'd were his eyes 
To save him — vain was each endeavour — 
For he had given in for ever. 

Harry, though Victor, look'd aghast, 
As Tom, from London, breath'd his last ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 185 

And wish'd that he had gain'd the day 
In some less inauspicious way. 
I have, he said, the Battle gain'd, 
And my known character sustain'd ; 
But, Tom has taken such a banging, 
Tis well if I escape from hanging. 
All I can say for grief is vain, 
That I my purpose will maintain, 
Never, I swear, to fight again. 

— But Death appear'd ! — ■ Once more, my 
friend — 
' Yes, one Round more, and all will end.' 



The Seconds now, were fill'd with dread : 
Umpires, and Bottle-holders fled : 
Confusion reign'd throughout the scene, 
And the Crowds hurried from the Green. 
The roads were quickly cover'd o'er 
With Chaise and pair, and Chaise and four. 
While Curricles, and Gigs display 
The rapid fury of their way ; 
And many a downfall grac'd the day. 
As Playgame claim'd a flying Bet, 
His new-built Tilbury was o'erset : 



1 86 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Lord Gammons Barouche met its fate, 
In contact with a Turnpike-Gate ; 
And Ned Fly's Gig, that hurried after, 
Was plung'd into a pond of water : 
While Tom, to prove the proverb sound, 
Though he was wetted, was not drown'd. 
— But, would it not be vain to tell 
The various chances that befell 
Horsemen and Footmen, who that day, 
From Death's dread challenge ran away ? 
For when the affrighted Crowd was 

gone, 
And Death and Harry were alone, 
The Spectre hasten'd to propose 
That they should forthwith come to blows ; 
But Harry thought it right to say, 
As no one 's here to see fair play 
I '11 try your strength another day : 
Besides, I know not how you 're made : 
I look for substance — you 're a shade — 

A bag of bones : for aught I know, 

Old Broughton, from the Shades below : 
And though alive, I should not dread 
His power — I war not with the dead. 
Thus, keeping well his guard, he spoke. 
When grinning Death put in a stroke, 



1! 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 87 

Which did the short-liv'd round decide, 
And Sheffield Harry, in his pride, 
Was laid by Tom from London's side. 

'Tis thus the Muse begs leave to close 
The History of Knock-down blows. 



1 88 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE VISION OF SKULLS 

What is Matter, what is Spirit ? 
What are the powers which they inherit ? 
Or how act they upon each other, 
To live as Brother should — with Brother ? 
An Answer, clear and full, I should 
Be glad to offer, if I could. 
— It is a metaphysic doubt 
How the mind frisks, and plays about, 
And sometimes makes a motley riot, 
When Morpheus keeps the body quiet : 
And, by no worldly care opprest, 
Our every sense is laid at rest. 
No sounds then reach the deafen'd ear, 
To the clos'd eye no forms appear : 
Feeling, and Taste, and Smell refuse 
Alike, their tributary dues. 
When Sleep has been invok'd to shed 
Its opiate poppies o'er the head. 
Then do strange figures oft arise, 
In various forms, to Fancy's eyes ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 189 

Which from the senseless body breaks, 
And in some wild vagary wakes : 
Pleas'd, in Night's Umbrage, to display 
Caricaturas of the day. 
— Now she o'erlooks the giddy steep, 
Or sails along the foamy deep : 
Delighted roams through Fairy bowers, 
Bedeck'd with never-fading flowers ; 
Or bound in damp and darksome cave, 
Or struggling with th' impetuous wave. 
— Now rais'd to pinnacles of Fame, 
Or damn'd by some inglorious name : 
Grasping a friend in warm embrace, 
Who long has run Life's eager race ; 
Or following to the Tomb, with sorrow, 
Those who will glad the eye to-morrow. 
Sometimes we wake, from wealth and 

power, 
To Disappointment's painful hour ; 
And from the velvet couch arise, 
To the flock-bed, where Sorrow lies. 
From falling rock and fancied billow, 
We joy to hug a real pillow; 
And smile, though still the bosom 

beats, 
To find we 're safe between the sheets. 



190 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Exterior objects do not give 
The cause by which such Fancies live : 
No real subject can be brought 
To fill the mind, or aid the thought, 
When all the powers of vision lie 
Beneath the lids that close the eye. 
Matter, 'tis plain, as all agree, 
By any Laws of Sympathy, 
Cannot, with a suspended sense, 
To thought or feeling make pretence ; 
And if the Spirit could disown 
The Body's power, and act alone, 
It would proceed by sober rule, 
And never frisk, or play the fool, 
Nor turn the actions of the day 
Into Phantasmagoria. 
— Here then, I close the puzzling theme 
With my faint notion of a dream ; 
And leave to others to express, 
If I have made a lucky guess. 



'Tis from the senses that the soul 
Derives its power to controul 
The scheme of Life : for when they sleep 
It does not the least order keep, 






ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 191 

But moves with its fantastic train, 

In frolic sportings o'er the brain, 

And seems to strive, with all its clatter, 

To separate itself from matter. 

There are machines which owe the State 

Of all their movements to a weight : 

If the weight moves, they all go on 

Progressive, and their work is done ; 

But, if it stops, they either cease, 

Or work confusion through the Piece. 

The clock struck eight — and, at the 
stroke, 
Sir Simon Bullion groan'd — and 'woke. 
The groan was follow'd with such sighs 
As made my Lady ope her eyes : 
With speed the curtain she undrew, 
Of her dear Knight to take a view, 
When she beheld him pale and wan, 
As if he 'd been a murder'd man : 
But soon her fears he did beguile, 
When he turn'd round, and seem'd to smile. 

6 I 've had a dream,' Sir Simon said, 
i That still affects my mind with dread ; 



192 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

1 And if, my Love, you '11 lend an ear, 

1 Its frightful hist'ry you shall hear.' — 

My Lady, having smooth'd the bed, 

In listening posture plac'd her head : 

When, having given a Hem, or two, 

Sir Simon did the Tale pursue. 

— ' I 've dream'd I was — I know not where, 

Nor what strange bus'ness led me there ; 

But, hurried by a crowd, I thought 

I saw the Portals of a Vault 

Which some uncommon sight possest, 

So I went in with all the rest. 

The spacious Cave which met my view, 

Was like a Church without a Pew. 

What I saw there was wond'rous strange : 

Around the place, in various range, 

On ev'ry side, above, below, 

In order due, a dismal show 

Of sculls innumerable stood ; 

As if the dead from Noah's flood, 

Had, with successive, constant care, 

Sent all their Pericraniums there : 

But, whether moderns, or of yore, 

They now one solemn visage bore : 

No difference now discern'd the eye — 

All grinn'd in grim equality. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 93 

1 Some of the curious, bustling croud 
Rush'd back, while others scream'd aloud ; 
But, while their terrors they betray'd, 
I did not feel myself afraid : 
Nay, by my side were two or three, 
Who seem'd as brave and bold as me : 
They took their quizzing glasses out, 
Quite at their ease, and look'd about. 
— Beneath the deep-roof d vault there stood 
A Figure, neither flesh nor blood ; 
Of horrid shape, and ghastly mien, 
Such as in pictures I have seen, 
To represent that foe to breath, 
Distinguish'd by the name of Death. 
Around there blaz'd a flaming brand, 
Which, in the stalking Spectre's hand, 
Wav'd, to and fro, a meteor bright, 
That fill'd each dark recess with light. 



1 1 thought, that now I wish'd to know 
The meaning of this mortal show : 
So ask'd the guide about the Tomb. — 
Call it, he said — a Catacomb. 
But though I do not know the word, 
I '11 swear 'twas what I thought I heard ; 

VOL. I.— N 



194 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And, after breakfast, I '11 go look 

If 'tis in Tommy's Spelling-book : 

And will it not be strange, my Dear, 

If in the Book it should appear, 

And that I, sleeping in my Bed, 

Should dream a word I never read. 

— The Figure wav'd his torch around, "\ 

And, in a voice, whose hollow sound V 

Did, through the echoing vaults rebound, J 

He bid us listen, as he read, 

The awful Hist'ry of the Dead. 

' " Those are the Kings who sceptres bore 
Those Sculls the Crowns Imperial wore. 
— The Beauties of a former day 
There grin the passing years away. 
— These are the heads within whose bone 
The solemn light of Wisdom shone, 
And will diffuse, with Science sage, 
Its radiance o'er each future age. 
— Beneath this arch, in many a row, 
Valour displays its dismal show. 
They were all Knights of great renown 
Whom Honour cherish'd as its own : 
Nay, some of them shall tell the story 
Of what they did for Fame and Glory." 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 195 

— The Phantom gave three heads a stroke 

With his fierce Torch, and thus they spoke. 

— Said one, " I was a soldier brave, 

Who found in war an early grave ; 

But, e'er in Honour's field I died — 

I slew the Hero by my side." 

The Hero, by his side, exclaim'd, 

— " 'Twas my right arm your prowess tam'd : 

It was my sabre's well-aim'd blow, 

That laid your glittering figure low." 

" Ho," cried a third, " pray cease your pother, 

I saw you both kill one another." — 

— Thus, though no arms, or legs had they, 

I thought they threaten'd an affray ; 

And seem'd, without alarm or dread, 

To long to play the Loggerhead. 

I thought their clamour ne'er would cease : 

But the Torch wav'd, and all was peace. 

It seem'd most strange the sight I saw, 

That heads should speak 'gainst Nature's 

law, 
Without a Tongue, — nor move a Jaw. 



* I humbly told the Guide, that I 
Was of the class of Chivalry. 



196 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

But that I was a Civic Knight, 

Who had much rather eat than fight. 

— Turn and look up, methought he said, 

At the huge Sculls above your head, 

Which are so thick, they might defy 

The balls of any musketry. 

Those which there meet your curious ken, 

Belong'd to Knights and Aldermen, 

Who to the Sword's heroic work 

Preferr'd the feats of Knife and Fork ; 

And, as they grin, the Jaws between, 

Their well-us'd, worn-out teeth are seen. — 

But all these mortal remnants stood, 

In such exact similitude, 

I could not see, with all my care, 

If any of my friends were there. 

— I then enquir'd, if no offence, 

And hop'd 'twas not impertinence, 

If he might tell whose fleshless face 

Was to fill up an empty space, 

Which seem'd so large, that I could swear, 

It was preserv'd for some Lord Mayor. 

He wav'd his Torch, and lost in smoke, 

'Twas thus I thought the Spectre spoke. — 

— That place, Sir Simon, is your due : 

Arid shortly will be filled by you.— 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 1 97 

I felt his grasp around my neck, 

While the main bone it seem'd to break : 

And though I dream'd I was not dead, 

I thought that I had lost my head. 

— Then I awoke. — What joy to hear 

My Dolly snoring in my ear ! 

To view her — what a charming sight ! 

And O, th' unspeakable delight 

To find, when I could thus behold her, 

I had a head upon my shoulder.' 



My Lady now, with tender grace, 
Calm'd his alarms in her embrace. 
' I like this dream,' she said, ' my dear : 
'Tis a good omen — never fear. 
I 'm sure you cannot have forgot, 
When once you dream'd that you were shot ; 
And then you 'woke, alarm'd and frighted : 
But three weeks after you were knighted. 
— I 'm quite enchanted ! and forebode 
The prospect of great future good. 
Not long a simple Knight you '11 be, 
And mark my certain Augury : 
For, in the Spectre's flaming brand, 
I see the Herald's Bloody Hand ; 



198 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

And soon shall read in the Gazette — 
Sir Simon is a Baronet.' 

' I hope, that you divine aright,' 
Replied the half-recover'd Knight : 
■ But though my tale so lucky seems, 
' I'd rather sleep without These Dreams.' 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



199 



THE PORTER'S CHAIR 

Of Things to Notions when we see 
A regular Conformity, 
(Such was the lesson of my youth) 
We may suppose we see the Truth. 
And when the contrary prevails, 
'Tis Falshood, with its lying tales : 
But, the refinement of the day, 
Has settled it another way. 
Some men may now, nor do a wrong, 
Tell ready Falshoods all day long : 
Nay, 'tis the duty of their place, 
To utter practis'd Lies with grace ; 
And, that their wants may be supplied, 
They keep them ready, cut and dried. 






John Lockfast had, for years, kept sentry, 
The Guardian of some Great Man's Entry, 
Which, not to give offence, we call 
By the more stylish name of Hall : — 



200 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Prepar'd, at ev'ry sounding knock, 

The harrass'd Portal to unlock ; 

And there or yes — or no — to say, 

As was the order of the day. 

— The tenant of an Easy Chair, 

His Life was free from bustling care : 

There, when by watchful nights distrest, 

He could recruit himself with rest. 

There he would sit and hear the News, 

With which the liv'ried train amuse 

Their fellow varlets, and relate 

As they in due attendance wait ; 

The lucky fortune, or disasters 

Which happen to their Lords and Masters, 

And tittle-tattle of the heigh-days 

Of all the high-bred, tonish Ladies. 

Nay, in a language of their own, 

Talk o'er the scandal of the Town. 

Thus /o/in, who had, for many a year, 

Been used the daily Tales to hear, 

The state domestic, could declare 

Of ev'ry house in ev'ry square. 

Nay, such was his experience thought 

In ev'ry thing which Service taught, 

That all the shoulder-knots in town 

Did his superior knowledge own, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 201 

Nor fail'd the Porter sage to greet, 
As Oracle of Harley Street. 
— He knew the policy that waits 
On vigilance at Great Men's gates \ 
And how to gloss the daily lie 
With a soft, smiling gravity. 
Of all his bows would give the best 
To him who was a welcome guest j 
But could reply, in surly tone, 
To those he wanted to be gone : 
In short, he could adapt his face, 
As well as voice, to ev'ry case ; 
And had the art, the first I know, 
When to return a Yes — or No. 



Nor was this all. — He could unfold 
The Language which the Knocker told ; 
From Fashion's proud, imperious rap, 
To the poor Suppliant's humble tap : 
Whether 'twas Form, or Friendship came, 
Or disappointed Tradesman's claim : 
The sons of Frolic, and of Fun, 
Or the stroke flippant of a Dun. 
— Besides, John, though he did not know it, 
Was no mean Casuist, — and I '11 show it. 



202 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

From living well, and sitting still, 
And of strong beer a daily fill, 
With other habits that combine, 
The props of Life to undermine, 
By slow degrees, John was, at length 
Diminish'd, both in health and strength ; 
And, as he one night thought of dying, 
The thirty years he 'd pass'd in lying, 
Came cross his mind, with the intent 
To quit his service, and repent. 
But after a full glass of Gin, 
He ask'd how it could be a sin, 
To do what ev'ry Servant did, 
And what his Lord and Lady bid ? 
So while he whirT'd th' inspiring smoke, 
John, to himself, thus thought and spoke. 



' I say, what I am told to say, 
And 'tis my duty to obey. 
Nay, I believe it true, that I, 
When I am lying, do not lie ; 
For, if I utter Falsehood's words, 
The Lie's my Lady's or my Lord's; 
And, though it may not be so civil, 
I think 'tis they should fear the Devil. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 203 

I well remember, t' other day, 

I heard a rev'rend Prelate say, 

As from my Lord he went away, 

I am, indeed, with truth most fervent, 

Your Lordship's most devoted Servant ; 

And that 's a swinging one, I hold it, 

Though my Lord Archbishop told it. 

But that is call'd a mere expression, 

No sin at all, nor wants confession ; 

And let me ask then, if I 'm worse 

Than him — for using words of course ? 

Besides, why should I feel alarm 

For saying what does no one harm ? 

I 've heard our Chaplain say, Denying 

Is not bona fide Lying : 

At least, that it will be forgiven 

By ev'ry Law that 's made in Heaven.' 1 



But a most strange event drew nigh, 
To cut short this Soliloquy. 
— The clock struck twelve, a gentle knock 
Bid John the Mansion door unlock : 
He took a light, and left his chair, 
To see who ask'd admittance there. 

1 Paley's Philosophy, vol. ill. p. 184. 



204 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

A horrid Figure met his eyes. — 
John instant thought of all his Lies. 
And struck with fear, aloud he squalPd : 
Murder, and Fire, and Thieves he bawl'd ; 
Then hobbled off at helter skelter, 
And in the cellar sought for shelter. 
— My Lord and Lady were gone out, 
To some Fandango, Ball, or Rout, 
And all the upper servants too, 
As second-table gentry do, 
Had, to ape their betters gone 
To a smart party of their own. 
— The maids upstairs with Tom were 

sitting ; 
For he was sick, and they were knitting. 
They heard the noise ; — Tom, with a grin, 
Said thieves were somewhere breaking in : 
Then seiz'd a pistol and a sword, 
And swore that none should rob my Lord. 
As Betty shriek'd, said jolly Nell, 
There are no thieves, I sure can tell : 
'Tis that fool John, who, in a dream, 
Sees some strange thing that makes him 

scream : 
And if down stairs we gently creep, 
There we shall find him fast asleep. 



« 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 205 

'Twas but last week that he was found 
Bawling and sprawling on the ground, 
Swearing he dream'd that he was drown'd. 
— They went, and what a sight was there ! 
Death sitting in the Porter's chair : 
While some strange bird was heard to squall, 
And flapp his wings around the Hall. 
Tom dropp'd the pistol from his hand : 
Nor could his strength the sword command. 
Bet shook with fear, nor was she slack, 
To trace her hurrying footsteps back ; 
While poor, fat Nelly, in her fright, 
Fell from the stair-case, at the sight. 
It was a most tremendous fall, 
As she plung'd headlong to the Hall : 
Her forehead struck the marble floor : — 
She heav'd a sigh, and spoke no more. 

The Spectre calmly turned around, 
And saw his victim on the ground : 
Then grinn'd a smile, and wav'd his dart : — 
'Tis done, he said, — and I depart. 
The door gap'd wide, as he withdrew ; — 
When the Bird shriek'd, and with him flew. 

John, though still trembling with affright, 
Stole up, and view'd the dismal sight. 



206 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Death still indeed possest his chair, 
For Tom had placed poor Nelly there. 
Said John, I ne'er again will stir, 
To let in such a Visiter ; 
— And, if I live, — to-morrow morning, 
I '11 surely give his Lordship warning. 
— In your warm place, good John remain 
Be where you will, he '11 come again ; 
Whate'er may be your future lot, 
Whether in Palace, Hall or Cot, 
Whene'er his hand salutes our gate, 
No lie will serve to make him wait : 
Whene'er he puts us to the trial, 
The scare-crow will take no denial ; 
For, at the time he 's pleas'd to come, 
We all of us, must be at Home. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 207 



THE PANTOMIME 

Joke, and Fun, and Frisk, and Folly, 
And ev'ry Foe to Melancholy, 
With airy step and smiling mien, 
Fill up the Pantomimic scene. 
Frolic spirits, light and gay, 
Chase the ev'ning gloom away : 
While they their lively whims pursue, 
What have we with Care to do ? 



Tragedy is blood and slaughter : — 
A Tyrant's wife, or Prince's daughter, 
With some bold Lover in her train, 
Who by a rival's hand is slain ; — 
With, right or wrong, a spice of reason 
To thwart Conspiracy and Treason : 
A fav'rite Slave, an infant Son, 
A battle lost, a battle won ; 
Tears, shrieks, a dagger and a bowl, 
Of Tragic Dramas form the whole. 



208 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Though, to add horror to the woe, 
And give the last Scene all its show, 
It were as well the Stage to spread 
With a slight sprinkle of the Dead. 



The Comic Muse, who in her freaks, 
With Life's domestic bus'ness seeks 
To call attention and to please 
With all man's, home varieties, 
Will sometimes think it not a sin, 
With Death's grave pers'nage to begin. 
— But he's not seen : — she thinks it 's better 
To introduce him in a Letter; 
Or, to create a future laugh, 
In a Newspaper paragraph. 
An Uncle rich may be suppos'd, 
Perhaps in India, to have clos'd 
His mortal Life, which may produce 
Plenty of hopes and fears, for use ; 
Turn up a score of odds and ends, 
Make friends of foes, and foes of friends. 
Besides, it ought not to be known, 
What he with all his wealth has done. 
In the third Act, perhaps, he '11 come 
At some untoward moment home ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 209 

And the whole plot takes its complexion 
From this unlook'd for resurrection. 
Alarm and Joy, and Tricks and Lies, 
With a few snug perplexities ; 
A subtle Valet, and a Maid, 
Who are well nurtur'd in their trade^ 
With an outwitted rogue or two, 
To be expos'd to public view : 
A song so fond and so complying, 
In a fine strain, that 's all but dying \ 
Or with nice equivoques well stor'd, 
Which will be sure to be encor'd, 
Work up the int'rest of the Piece : 
Then all at once the jarrings cease. 
They yield to joy, and asking blessing, 
Some shaking hands, and some caressing ; 
Till Hymen comes to say ' good bye ; — 
1 I hope you like the Comedy.' 



Farce is a comic view of Nature, 
Caricatur'd in plan and feature ; — 
Nor does the Critic blame the scene 
If it but robs him of the spleen. 
The Unities may all give way 
If it but makes the Audience gay. 
vol. 1.— o 



210 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Vice, Virtue, Folly, Youth and Age, 

May form the bus'ness of the Stage ; 

Sing-song and Dance may join their power 

To hasten on the laughing hour. 

But Death 's too solemn to appear 

In all his sad apparel there ; 

Unless he lends his dismal show 

To form a mockery of woe, 

And make a louder laugh succeed, 

When Life resuscitates the Dead. 



Some may remember well the time 
But it was in a Pantomime, 
When Death was seen to play his part, 
To grin a smile and wield a dart : 
Now upright in the tomb he stood, 
Now mantled in a sable hood : 
Then he would strut, stand still, or sit, 
And well nigh frighten half the Pit : 
He next, to follow up the Joke, 
Would take a pipe and gravely smoke. 
Pierrot and Pantaloon amaz'd, 
At the familiar Phantom gaz'd : 
Who, with his hideous grimaces, 
Would work up Terror in their faces ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 211 

While Columbine with welcome glance, 
Invites him to the graceful Dance : 
At length his Frolics make it known — 
'Tis Harlequin turn'd Skeleton. 
But soon the magic strip of wood 
Restores him all his flesh and blood, 
And makes the wond'ring children gape 
At each variety of shape : 
They almost doubt the astonish'd eyes 
Which views the tricks his sword supplies. 
Mountains that touch the clouds are seen 
To sink into the Ocean green ; 
While on their sides the yielding trees, 
Transform'd to vessels, plough the seas. 
By the same metaphysic power 
The Rock melts to a Rosy Bower ; 
The Rosy Bower where Lovers meet, 
Passes away, and lo, a Street, 
With all its busy, bustling train, 
Which cities, rich in trade, contain. 
That 's whirled away, and, in its stead, 
A stately building rears its head : — 
But still more strange when mortal man 
A Lion growls or swims a Swan. 
So quick the change of human nature 
To ev'ry form of living creature ; 



212 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

That e'en Pythagoras might stare, 

Had he been a Spectator there. 

— Pierrot and Pantaloon pursue 

With all their clumsy retinue ; 

But vain the toil with which they strive 

T o'ertake the Motly Fugitive ; 

Till kick'd and cufif'd in ev'ry place, 

They 're forc'd at length to yield the chace ; 

While Harlequin, each danger past, 

Enjoys his Columbine at last. 

Thus may Death's image aid delight 
'Mid the gay scen'ry of the night : 
But, in the Pantomime of years, 
'Tis serious all, when Death appears. 
For then no grin can Pierrot save ; 
He finds the trap a real grave ; 
Old Pantaloon with all his care, 
Will cease to be an Actor there. 
Luris magic sword, with all its art, 
Must yield to Fate's resistless dart ; 
And when Life's closing scene is o'er, 
The Curtain falls to rise no more. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 213 



THE HORSE RACE 

I own the Simile is trite, 
But then it is correctly right ; 
For ev'ry learned Critic knows 
That on all-fours it glibly goes, 
When the ever-varying strife 
That gives activity to Life, 
Is in its proper time and place, 
Compar'd to what is call'd a Race. 
For when we see each high-bred Horse 
Stretching for Conquest on the Course, 
What does he but man's toil display 
Through ev'ry hour of ev'ry day. 
— But we postpone the moral strain, — 
And call the Reader to the Plain. 
Where the assembled croud are met 
To wrangle, jangle, and to bet. 

'Tis not to see the noble Steed 
Pace o'er the Down with matchless speed ; 



214 ENGLISH DANCE OF -DEATH 

Tis not to view the Rider's art 

When from the Goal he 's calPd to start ; 

Or where the contest may begin, 

That makes it doubtful who shall win ; — 

'Tis who, in honourable way, 

Shall of his neighbour make a prey : 

For this same curious, motly meeting 

Is somewhat of a Race for cheating. 

Jack Trimbush, in the country bred, 
To nothing useful turned his head ; 
Cock-fighting, Racing, and the Games 
That sober Prudence never names, 
He long had practis'd, and was able 
To figure at a Billiard Table. 
An Uncle left him an estate 
That was not either small or great ; 
But it was thought to bring him clear, 
At least a thousand pounds a year ; — 
And, as 'twould be unjust to spare 
The praise where he can claim a share, 
Of that he took especial care. 
He sav'd what others give in bounty, 
And though he gambled round the county, 
'Twas thought the conscientious sinner, 
Somehow contriv'd to be a winner. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 21 S 

Now Jack was making to the Post 
The busy scene of Won and Zw/, 
When to all those he saw around, 
He cried, * I offer fifty pound, 
1 That to yon gambling place I get 

! Before you all.' Death took the Bet. 

The 'Squire's Mare was Merry Joan, 
And Death rode, Scrambling Skeleton. 
They started, nor much time they lost 
Before they reach'd the gambling Host : 
But e'er they pass'd the betting Pole, 
Which was the terminating Goal, 
O'er a blind Fiddler Joan came down ; 
With fatal force poor Jack was thrown, 
When a stone, on the verdure laid, 
Prov'd harder than the Rider's head. 
— Death wav'd aloft his dart, and fled. 

Upon the ground Jack senseless lay, 
And turn'd the bus'ness of the day : 
Horses and Jockies were forgot, 
'Twas whether He would live or not. 
Says High-Game, ' I '11 lay five to one, 
' And who, among you, answers — Done ? 
1 That with Jack Trimbush 'tis all over, 
1 And that he never will recover.' 



2l6 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Cries Blacklegs, ' Why, I '11 take the Bet,' 

1 I think that He '11 recover yet, 

' But then I must assistance get.' 

' I bar all aid,' exclaims the other : 

- No Doctor, if He were my Brother : 

' If a lancet breathes a vein 

1 I recall my Bet again.' 

Such was the language round the Post, 

Till Trimbush yielded up the Ghost. 

The racing o'er, a Party met 
Neither to gamble nor to bet, 
But to enjoy the flow of soul 
Around the full, capacious Bowl. 
There was, howe'er, a dismal dearth, 
That evening, of their usual mirth : 
For Trimbush, and his fractur'd scull, 
Somehow or other, made them dull; 
Till thus Sir Jeffrey Graveairs spoke. 
1 Since we are not dispos'd to joke, 
1 I, who to-night possess the chair, 
' Call on our Friend the Doctor there, 
' To give us, nor will he refuse, 
1 Some Ditty from his moral Muse. 
' 'Twill be a lack and well-a-day, 
1 Which we to poor Jack's mem'ry pay.' 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 217 

— The Doctor smil'd consent, and soon 
Began his sentimental tune. 

SONG 

Nor Humour, nor Wit, I pretend to rehearse, 
My strain is all moral, and sober my verse ; 
A subject to suit you, my song shall embrace ; 
I sing of the Jockies in Life's busy race. 

Derry down, etc. 

The Croud of Mankind in Contention we see, 
The High and the Low, of ev'ry degree ; 
The King and the Beggar, the weak and the 

strong, 
E'en the blind grope their way, and the lame 

halt along. 

Ambition high mounted on Courser so fair, 
Who pants with impatience, and snuffs up the air ; 
As he strains for the prize, behold, with a flirt, 
He falls from his horse, and is laid in the dirt. 

Great monarchs contend in destruction and wars, 
And strive for the Laurels and glory of Mars ; 
But how oft, as they run through this perilous 

strife, 
This loses his Crown, and that loses his Life. 



2l8 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

The Miser now trembling, now sturdy and bold, 
As he thinks he shall lose, or may add to his gold, 
While heaping up treasure, he sinks 'neath the toil ; 
And some profligate Spendthrift runs off with the 
spoil. 

The Sage who, in Schools and Academies bred, 
With store of deep learning has furnish'd his head, 
If he lets it not forth to embellish mankind, 
The Dunce and the Blockhead will leave him behind. 

The Virgin who full of her smiles and her charms, 
As she glides smoothly on scatters Love and alarms ; 
Assisted by Prudence, should hold tight the rein, 
Or her charms and her beauty will conquer in vain. 

Tho' the young boast their strength, and the 

wealthy their gold ; 
Tho' the Hero looks big 'cause He 's valiant and 

bold; 
Tho' Kings wave their sceptres, Death strides on 

apace, 
And sooner or later will finish the Race. 

Where Reason directs let us haste on our way, 
When Discretion commands, let us wisely obey ; 
And though, as we run, we may sometimes be past, 
We shall certainly win the best prize at the last. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 219 

Then let not the contests that happen in life, 
Engender Confusion, Disorder and Strife ; 
Let us run where bright Virtue distributes the prize ; 
Tho' we lose it on earth, 'twill be found in the skies. 

Derry down, etc. 



220 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE DRAM SHOP 

A Preacher, I remember well, 
Whose fashion was blunt truths to tell, 
Harangu'd his Audience how to shun 
Old Nick, as round the world he run ; 
And thus the fav'rite haunts defin'd 
Of the great Enemy of Mankind. 



' Avoid the place where the profane 
1 Their faithless Mysteries maintain \ 
1 Nor let those mansions be explor'd 
' Where the Dice rattles on the board. 
1 Nor risk your Labour's fair reward 
' By shuffling the deceitful Card. 
' In haste, pass by the tempting street 
1 Where the alluring wantons meet ; 
' For thus, as sure as Evil 's evil, 
* You'll meet that Spirit call'd the Devil. 
' But above all, as you would shun 
' In Life and Death to be undone, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 221 

1 Indulge not in the liquid ill 

' That flows from the empoison'd Stilly 

' Thither the Fiend loves to repair, 

1 And Death, too oft, attends him there ; 

' Who, in his never-ceasing rounds, 

' The Still-man aids as he compounds 

1 Each mixture that 's in daily strife 

' With Health, with Honour, and with Life. 

1 The Dram-shop is the spot that yields 

1 More various ills than all the fields 

1 Where grow the Vices that disgrace 

1 Th' existence of the human race. 

1 The Town with beggars it supplies, 

' And almost fills th' Infirmaries ; 

' Gives half their inmates to the jails, 

' And multiplies the Hangman's vails. 

1 — Question the sturdy Lab'rer, why 

' He wears the rags of Poverty ? 

{ Wherefore his well-paid, daily task 

' Denies the Bread his Children ask ? 

1 It is the Dram's alluring cup 

1 That swallows all his earnings up. 

{ — Behold the squallid Mother's breast, 

' By the faint, sickly infant prest, 

1 That ne'er the milk of Nature gives : — 

1 Instead, the Suckling's lip receives 



222 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

' The sad Infusion which at length, 

' Destroys its puny, struggling strength 

' Till Life its ev'ry aid denies, 

' And the poor, shrivell'd pigmy dies. 

1 — Bid the Procuress mark the way 

' To make th' incautious Maid her prey, 

1 The guards of Virtue to remove, 

1 And smooth the path to lawless love ; 

' 'Tis the same deleterious power, 

' That crowns Seduction's fatal hour. 

— ' Look at a shop whose windows show, 

1 On ev'ry side, above, below, 

1 The pledge of many a former day, 

' Of pressing Want the sad display. 

1 Does it not wound each tender sense, 

1 To see the poor who issue thence, 

' As to the Dram shop they repair, 

' And spend the borrow'd pittance there ? 1 

' — Behold, th' uplifted hand is seen : — 

' What threat'ning looks and angry mien : 

' While the foul execrating tongue 

' Does the fierce, clam'rous war prolong : 

1 A Pawnbroker made the following reply to a Friend who 
expressed his surprize that he did not remove to a better Situa- 
tion. — 'I don't know a better: for it is within a very convenient 
1 distance from three Dram Shops. ' 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 223 

' While e'en from female lips proceed, 

' The threat of many a bloody deed. 

1 Thus Virtue 's drown'd and Health destroy'd, 

' For the vile habit 's seldom cloy'd. 

' Are then our Legislators loth 

' To curb the ills that ruin both ; 

1 Or wherefore do we daily meet 

1 Such scenes as these in ev'ry street ? 

1 Do they then tempt the poor to pay 

' Their health and virtue to defray 

{ The Nation's wants, and urge the Still, 

* The rav'nous Taxman's book to fill. 

1 If they protect such baneful evil, 

1 Nought will protect them from the Devil.' 



The Preacher thus his thoughts display'd 
The Congregation groaned and pray'd : 
And some few thought it not a sin, 
To go and toast his health — in Gin. 



— How oft the sons of riot find 
Pleasure the poison of the mind : 
In Life, by Fire and Famine, less 
Sink to their Graves, than by excess. 



224 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

'Tis Temperance gives the richest wealth ; 
Contentment, Peace, and lasting Health : 
'Tis Temperance that forms the sage : 
Is youth's best Guardian, and the Friend of 
Age. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 225 



THE GAMING TABLE 

If it were questioned of the Sage, 
Whose reas'ning mind, to hoary age, 
Has with a keen and curious ken, 
Examin'd well the ways of men, 
What is most likely to impart 
The worst of Frailties to the heart, — 
He would not hesitate to say, 1 

It is the excessive love of play : r 

That Gamesters are but birds of prey ; J 
Who, like the vultures, as they fly 
Through the calm region of the sky, 
Look down with a rapacious joy, 
Eager to seize and to destroy. 
— Gaming, at first, a pleasure made, 
Becomes, at length, a rav'nous Trade. 

When the hand shakes the treach'rous dice, 
The heart's the seat of ev'ry vice, 
The most abhorrent from the plan 
That Virtue has mark'd out for man. 
vol. 1.— p 



226 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

In that fell moment Friendship dies, "j 
Love, startled, from the bosom flies, 
And Nature — Nature's self belies : — J 
Nay, does not the fierce Lust proceed 
To consecrate the blackest deed. 
— Bacon, that first of Men, has said, 
The Gamester 's to each virtue dead, 
And with th' accursed rage endued, 
Has not a sense of what is good ; 
While his predominance in ill, 
Bears just proportion to the skill, 
With which his practic'd mind can guard 
The doubtful throw, the casual Card. 



How oft the Youth, to virtue bred 
And born to wealth, whose parents dead 
Have left him, through the world to stray ; 
In blooming Manhood's early day, 
Becomes the wily Sharper's prey. 
At first He 's taught to find delight 
In those amusements of the night, 
Where men of courtly manners meet 
To ply the progress of deceit. 
Led on, at length, by slow degrees, 
All unsuspecting, and at ease, 



! 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 227 

To ev'ry earthly comfort blind, 

The love of Play absorbs his mind, 

Nor suffers any other care 

To find a free Admission there. 

Then, to supply the wager'd gold, 

His woods are fell'd, his trees are sold ; 

And the last hazard of the die 

Leaves him to want and misery ; 

While the false friend, who caus'd his ruin, 

Sits, careless of the foul undoing : 

And, should Despair attempt the blow ^ 

That calms at once all human woe, 

'Twill scarce arrest th' impending throw. J 

Is he, who by Despair is led 
To give a wife and infants bread, 
By a mere threat'ning to purvey 
From Travelers on the public way ? 
Is such a deed, which, when 'tis done, 
May frighten some, but ruin none ; 
Is such a deed, which, like a dart, 
Pierces the trembling Culprit's heart, 
And, springing from no vile intent, 
To find the fatal punishment ? 
Is such a wretched man to die 
On Gallows tree in infamy ? 



228 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

While he, who in gay plenty lives 
On the vile gains which gaming gives, 
Shall be received with %ase and glee, 
And marks of polish'd courtesy, 
In those bright circles, where the train 
Of Fashion hold their splendid reign ; 
Though many a Dupe may curse the hour, 
When Fortune's false, insidious power 
Allur'd them to his treach'rous hand, 
That could th' obedient card command, 
Or tell the fabricated die 
To aid the well-plan n'd treachery. 



Is there in Reason's view a scene 
Of a more fell and horrid mien ? 
Is there to calm Reflection's eye 
A nest of greater villainy, 
Than where the Pandemoniums meet,- 
Or to be cheated, or to cheat ? * 
Is there a vice that is not there ? 
Is there a sense that good men share? 
Is there an oath that is not heard ? 
Is there a curse that 's not preferr'd ? 



1 The Gaming Houses of an inferior kind, in the neighbourhood 
of St. James's, are denominated ' Hells.' 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 229 

Does not the disappointing die 
Call forth the horrid blasphemy ? 
And in the smile of him who wins, 
Each feature, as it brightens, sins. 

If any one should wish to scan 
The God-like countenance of man, 
When Passion shapes it to descend 
Into the visage of a Fiend ; 
To haunts like these he may repair : — 
He '11 find the frightful picture there. 

But Death, who as he roams about, 
May find the Gaming Table out ; — 
And, when he shows his ghastly grin, 
The knowing ones are taken in. 
— The lucky Phantom 's sure to win. 
He enters, — when the fearful shout 
Echoes around, of — turn him out. 
No, he replies — that Gold is mine : — 
Gamester, that Gold you must resign. 
— Now Life 's the Main, the Spectre cries : 
He throws— and lo ! — The Gamester dies. 



230 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE BATTLE 

Life's frail and perishable hour 
Has oft been liken'd to a flower, 
Which first a verdant leaf displays 
Amid the show'rs of vernal days, 
And Summer opens to the Sun ; 
But Autumn sees its beauty gone : 
Chill'd by Winter cold it lies, 
To be renew'd 'neath milder skies. 
Such is the whole progressive span 
That marks the longest life of Man : 
But, by experience, we are taught 
The various means that make it short. 
Disease, with its destructive Train, 
And all the Family of Pain ; 
These are the Ministers that wait 
Upon the dread commands of Fate. 
— Fever's fierce and burning heat 
Which makes each pulse with fury beat ; 
Pallid Ague that, by turns, 
Shakes with tremors cold, or burns 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 231 

With parching pain ; — the Stone, 
That parent of the heaving groan ; 
The Gout, and all its racking pains, 
Or Frenzy, writhing in its chains, 
And many an ill of doubtful name 
That harrasses the human frame. 
Nor these alone : Heart-breaking Care \ 
With pining Love, and fell despair ; 
Or Passion's unreflecting rage, 
Which Reason trembles to assuage ; — 
They, in their various natures, pave 
Man's passage to the gloomy grave, 
His mortal destiny : but these 
Waste mankind by slow degrees, 
While Nature's all-prolific power 
Supplies such losses every hour. 
— No, 'tis the vast, ensanguin'd plain 
Cover'd with thousands of the slain, 
Where the fell Deity of War 
Drives onward in his fatal Car : , 
'Tis there th' affrighted eye can trace 
The power that thins the human race. 



The Sun his early beams displays 
And tips the hills with golden rays ; 



232 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Then glitters on the martial show, 

That covers all the vale below ; 

Where the embattePd armies wait, 

Impatient for the word of Fate ; 

While Death expects, in dire array, 

The victims of the bloody day. 

Thousands who saw the Sun arise, 

And with its bright beams streak the skies, 

E'er his orb sinks into the main, 

In ghastly shapes will strew the plain. 

E'er his allotted Circuit 's run, 

What glory will be lost and won, 

Glory, the dearly purchas'd prize 

Of widows' tears, of orphans' cries ; 

Of matrons — shrieking wild with woe ; 

Of cities, and their walls laid low ; 

Of chrystal streams bestain'd with gore ; 

Of the rich vallies that no more 

Their plenty to the sickle yields ; 

While Blood 's the Harvest of the fields. 



Man could not be by Nature made 
For War's destructive, cruel trade ; 
To change the joys of social Life, 
For savage deeds of martial Strife. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 233 

He who is born to weep with those 

Who feel the weight of human woes ; 

He, whose first joy is to relieve 

The aching hearts of those who grieve ; 

He, whose happier passions move, 

Faithful to Friendship and to Love ; 

Is He by Nature form'd to wield 

The sabre in the tented field ? 

What though he may the battle try, 

Summon'd by stern Necessity ; 

What, though his country's wrongs may charm 

The patriot citizen to arm, 

And join the cohorts to oppose 

The darings of his country's foes, — 

He, born with Love to be endued, 

And Charity, Life's real good, 

Was never form'd to deal in blood. 

It cannot with his virtues suit, 

For the stern trump to change the lute ; 

Or quit, without a deep-drawn sigh, 

The scene of peace and harmony. 

The mother, when she lulls to rest 
Th' unconscious infant on her breast ; 
When, as she views the Babe, her eye 
Glances with tender extasy : 



234 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

She offers up the secret prayer 

To Heaven, for its protecting care; 

To guard him from the ills that wait 

Upon his weak and helpless state. 

Give him strength, and grant him health ; 

Give him Virtue, crown'd with wealth \ — 

That thus her Infant may be blest, 

Is the maternal, fond request. 

She thinks not of the woe that springs 

From the ambitious pride of kings ; 

Nor looks, with premature alarms, 

To hostile feats and deeds of arms ; 

Nor are her wishes e'er beguil'd, 

To see a Hero in her child. 

With the pale lily and the rose, 

She decks the smiling Urchin's brows ; 



Nor does Affection's hand prepare 
To place the verdant Laurel there, 
Emblem of Honour gain'd irv^war. 
Virtue, she knows, may find its 

meed, 
Where daring warriors never bleed ; 
And Honour may enjoy renown 
Without the Victor's laureate crown. 
For added evils wherefore roam, 
All find enough of ill at home ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 235 

If ill it should be call'd that proves 
The noble Heart which Virtue loves. 

War 's the Disease of nations, sent 
By Heaven, as awful punishment, 
At once to chasten, and chastise 
Mankind's combin'd enormities ; 
And when its standard is unfurl'd, 
What woes assail the trembling world. 
Murder, and Massacre and Spoil, °\ 
Pursued with unremitting toil r 

In ev'ry clime, on ev'ry soil. J 

Amid the Battle's bloody hour, 
Death brandishes his utmost power ; 
And thousands in a moment fall, 
Beneath that Strength which conquers all. 
When He his potent arm uprears, 
In ev'ry shape his dart appears, 
Which the fell arts of War employ 
With deadly genius to destroy. 
When the sword strikes the struggling foe, 
'Tis Death directs the fatal blow : 
When the shaft makes the bosom bleed, 
'Tis Death directs the fatal speed : 
When the loud cannon breathes, its breath 
Is the destructive fume of Death. 



236 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Where'er he waves his torch on high, 
The victors and the vanquish'd die ; 
And Fame 's too oft the only meed 
Or of the living, or the dead. 
— O blest be that benignant hour, 
When chast'ning Justice calms its power 
Bids all the warring contests cease, 
And gives the humbled Nations peace. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 237 



THE WEDDING 

There is a proverb that is known 
By ev'ry lively Miss in Town, 
For whom Love lies in ambuscade, 
— That Marriages in Heaven are made. 
Thus, when the Fair, resolv'd to wed, 
Receives the Captain to her bed, 
Whose only fortune is his pay 
Of nothing like a pound per day, 
A father's anger to assuage, 
And calm an humbled Mother's rage, 
She says, in hopes to be forgiven, 
The nuptial knot was tied in Heaven. 
How could she help it — when her Love 
Was govern'd by the powers above ; 
And therefore would Papa persuade 
That this same match was wisely made ; 
Nay, asks the Dower he would accord, 
As if her Spouse had been a Lord. 
— But 'tis not Birth, nor is it gold 
That does the sacred Union hold 



238 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

In that firm fondness which will last, 
When Beauty, and when years are past. 
Affection is the Knot that binds 
In silken cord, congenial minds ; 
And, e'en, in with'ring age will bloom, 
To grace the confines of the tomb : 
Thus Hymen often doth beguile 
The Heart, though Fortune does not smile ; 
And turns, disgusted, from the great, 
Beneath the domes of Wealth and State. 



If Hymen would with Plutus rove, 
And always seek the God of Love ; 
Nor ever quit the common shrine, 
When they the Nuptial Contract sign : 
If Cupid ne'er would make pretence 
Unless to Beauty, Wit, or Sense, 
And Plutus ever ready be 
To crown each faithful Votary, 
And Hymen, not a step proceed, 
'Till his Associates were agreed, 
Who would not seek the Nuptial State, 
Who would not be a married mate ? 
Nay, scarce upon this earthly round 
Would one old Bachelor be found. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 239 

But 'tis not form'd by Nature's plan 

To give such Happiness to Man : 

It would be folly then to wonder 

That Love and Plutus keep asunder ; 

For Hymen 's ever at their will 

Their sep'rate pleasure to fulfil ; 

Though Plutus seems to take the lead 

Of Love, in matrimonial deed : 

Such is, at least, the gen'ral creed : — 

And such Amelia's tale will prove 

Who married Wealth, nor thought of Love. 

She was, 'tis true, in Fashion bred, 
With all those whimsies in her head, 
With all those hopes, within her heart, 
That High-life fantasies impart. 
Her glass return'd the lovely face, 
Her ev'ry motion beam'd with grace, 
Which might the ardent wish inspire, 
And bid each gazing eye admire ; 
So that she thought, let who will woe me, 
'Tis some Adonis shall subdue me ; 
For I 'm not yet so foolish grown, 
To wed a form unlike my own. 
But 'twill not do, unless his door, 
Beholds each day, the coach-and-four ; 



240 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Or, if 'tis just to take the air, ^ 

The sprightly Curricle and pair, j- 

Or the groom with the high-bred mare. J 

Nor must the dear Adonis stint her, 

To one grand Fete through one long winter ; 

But, by the splendour of each treat, 

To lay all Fashion at her feet. 

Thus did her flatt'ring hopes go on 
From seventeen years to twenty-one : 
But no Adonis yet appears, 
And all her hopes were turn'd to fears. 
— Instead, an ancient, tatter'd Beau, 
Who totter'd on threescore, or so, 
Resolv'd to close his rakish Life, 
With a young fashionable wife. 
Amelia caught his gloting eye, 
And heard his fond Idolatry ; 
When all that could her pride content, 
In figure, wealth, and settlement, 
Was placed at her supreme command, 
To bribe the Fair to yield her hand. 

Amelia conn'd the matter o'er, 
Sigh'd twenty-one, and then threescore. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 241 

The offer she would say is fair, 

But then there 's no Adonis there ; 

And for Adonis should I stay, 

'Till all my Beauties fade away ; 

Should I refuse the offer'd Lot 

I might e'en live to be forgot. 

— Besides, my dear, prolific mother 

Gave me five Sisters, and a Brother ; 

So that my Dower will ne'er invite 

A match beyond a country Knight ; — 

My Fortune may not e'en inspire 

The Courtship of a mortgag'd Squire. 

— All things consider'd, 'twill be wise 

My love-lorn hopes to sacrifice, 

And take Sir John, let who will flout him, 

With all his wealth and years about him ; 

Nay, should the Veteran not survive 

The day when I am twenty-five, 

So wealthy, and yet handsome still, 

I shall have Lovers at my will, 

And stand a better chance to find 

A young Adonis to my mind : — 

But that the world may not upbraid me, 

It is my mother shall persuade me ; 

And thus to give the matter weight, 

I for a week will hesitate. 
vol. 1. — Q 



242 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

This interval Mamma employs 
To influence her Daughter's choice, 
And urges in a different way 
The self-same reasons ev'ry day. 

' I own, my Dear, it is too true, 
1 Sir John 's a horrid form to view, 
' But he pays nobly for the pride 
1 Of having such a lovely Bride, 
t And in the matrimonial dish, 

* We can't have all that we can wish : 
' Let Fortune cook it how it will, 

1 There will be something wanting still. 
1 — A proverb oft the truth displays, 

* And think jon what this proverb says — 
' You *d better be an old marts darling 

1 Than hear a young marts constant snarling. 
1 He says, indeed, he 's but threescore, 
1 But I know that He 's something more ; 
1 While from the Life which he has past, 
c The Doctors say he cannot last. 
' It seems, that more than half the year 
1 He has the Gout, and can't appear ; 

* At least, his limping form is seen, 
1 Shelter'd within a gilded screen. 

1 In this same calculating age, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 243 

1 When Int'rest is the growing rage, 
' A prospect, with such golden views, 
1 It would be madness to refuse. 
' There 's many a Dutchess cannot prove 
f Such splendid marks of gen'rous Love 
1 As he proposes : — count them o'er, 
' And tell me, would you wish for more. 
' Envy may scoff, and some may smile, 
1 But think on what you '11 gain the while. 

* Few, few, among the world's gay throng 
1 Will say, dear Girl, you 've acted wrong, 
1 If you with prudence play your part, 

1 Nor let the world corrupt your heart, 
1 When as a Widow you appear 
1 With twice three thousand pounds a year, 
1 And all the fine things which the pride 

* Of doting Love, will give beside. 

1 My counsel is, the proffer'd boon 
1 Should be receiv'd this afternoon : 
1 This moment let your mother write 
4 To ease the gallant, surf' ring Knight j 
1 To tell him, that at length, you yield, 
1 And leave him Master of the field ; 
' But, to conclude this long debate, 
' Think, think on his precarious state, 
1 The bus'ness must not be delay 'd, 



244 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

' Or e'er the settlements are made, 
{ He to that region may be flown 
■ Where Marriages are never known.' 

'Twas done : — In haste the forms proceed ; ^ 
The Lawyers all are doubly fee'd ; 
The Fashion-shops work night and day, 
To furnish out the rich array, 
That young Amelia might be seen, 
The image of the Cyprian queen ; 
When, 'mid Idalian rites she moves, 
Surrounded by th' admiring Loves ; 
Such costly jewels now appear 
To shine and dangle in her ear, 
To bind her arms, and deck her hair, 
To make the fairest look more fair, 
Such as a Sultan seldom gave 
To the Seraglio's fav'rite Slave. 
In short, it was the tempting store 
Of am'rous wealth at sixty-four. 

At length arriv'd th' appointed Day, 
When all, but Emily, were gay. 
Still her pale lips, however loth, 
To the old Bridegroom plight their troth ; 
While he affects a simp'ring grace, 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 245 

Or calls a smirk into his face. 
Thus, as she saw him by her stand, 
And felt his chilly, palsied hand, 
The humbling tear bedew'd her eyes, 
And mourn'd her own sad sacrifice : 
Nor could she draw a faint supply 
Of Comfort, e'en from Vanity. 
In spite of all her splendid show, 
She inly curs'd the gilded woe ; 
And, in the secret of her mind, 
Call'd Death — the Union to unbind ; 
Nor call'd in vain. — In surplice drest, 
At once the Bridesman and the Priest, 
'Twas Death who at the Altar heard 
The inward wish that she preferr'd; 
And when the sacred knot was tied, 
The Bridegroom in a moment died, 
And left her, as she just had pray'd — 
A widow'd Bride, a married Maid. 

She now her gawds to sables turns, 
And in all due Apparel mourns. 
But though, by some good folks 'tis said, 
That marriages in Heaven are made, 
She thinks, to make the Proverb even, 
That they are sometimes loos' d in Heaven. 



246 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE SKAITERS 

Water and Earth, and Air and Fire, 
All, in their different ways conspire, 
Our Life's frail nature to support ; 
Or, as it happens, cut it short. 
Not a day passes but 'tis found 
That some are burn'd, or some are drown'd. 
Does not the foul and foetid breath 
Of some disease, cause daily death ? 
And who, on Earth's vast space can tell 
The Spot where Danger does not dwell ? 
The very Elements, that tend 
To give us Life, produce our end. 
Death is not only here and there, 
His fearful power is every where. 
He sails, upon his baleful wing, 
Amid the zephyrs of the spring ; 
He can his deadly frolics play 
Beneath the Summer's burning ray ; 
While Autumn's fruit, at his command, 
Shall drop ripe from the gatherer's hand ; 




GO V 






— ' D 

6 m 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 247 

He calls obedient to his power, 
Each pastime of the wint'ry hour ; 
Whether we seek the painted dome, 
Or are invited forth to roam, 
When the earth is fast bound in frost, 
And ev'ry stream in ice is lost. 
Should then the fatal Shape incline 
To glide along the Serpentine, 
How many skaiting folks would he 
Throw into mortal jeopardy : 
Away, in vain, the Skaiters skim, 
'Tis all in vain that they can swim. 
If he but waves his mystic dart, 
Th' obedient Ice begins to part ; 
And, while the opening chink receives 
The hapless groupe, he grins, and leaves 
Some of the smartest blades in town 
To squall, to flounder, and to drown. 



248 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 



THE DUEL 

Honour 's a very common word, 
By all and ev'ry where preferr'd. 
But what 's its meaning, — where 's the Key, 
That will unlock the Mystery ? 
It seems to change in ev'ry street, 
And with each person that we meet. 
—Ask the old Maid of fifty-three, 
She whispers, 'tis Virginity. 
— Ask the gay Virgin, in her teens, 
What this self-same expression means ? 
She '11 say, when a young Miss can boast, 
To be an universal Toast. 
— In Bond-street, of the Loungers there 
Enquire for Honour, — when and where 
'Tis to be found : — Why some will say 
In paying debts, when lost at play : 
In guiding, with adroit command, 
The gay Barouche and four-in-hand ; 
With equal grace to swear and rail 
As any Coachman of a Mail. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 249 

— If in your walks you chance to pop 
Your head into a Tradesman's shop, 
What though he lies from morn to night, 
If he can get a Guinea by 't, 
Let him but pay his Bills when due ; 
He is a Man of Honour too. 
— The Jobber in the Stock Exchange, 
Call him a Rogue — he '11 say 'tis strange ; 
For if he 's neither Bull nor Bear, 
He is a Man of Honour there. 
Go to the Temple, or Gray's Inn, 
And ask where Honour 's to be seen ? — 
The Porter answers, 'tis not known 
Within those quarters of the Town ; 
But if you touch him with a Fee, 
Though all in vain, He '11 go and see. 
— The Soldier, if you name the word, 
Lays his rough hand upon his Sword ; 
Then points in silence to the scar, 
Won 'mid the bloody toils of War. 
What says Religion ? — She replies, 
Honour within the bosom lies : — 
The Steers-man of our moral frame, 
Honour and Conscience are the same : 
But there 's an Engine in the breast, 
Which some folks call Self-interest, 



2 SO ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

That in this busy world of our's, 

Possesses those resistless powers, 

That sometimes change the name and nature, 

The very form and shape and feature 

Of all the principles which plan 

The moral Institute of Man ; 

And, like the Alchemy of old, 

Strives to convert them into Gold. 

— My Grandame told me, in my youth. 

Honour 's another word for Truth ; 

But now I find, some years gone by, 

'Tis Honour to maintain a lie. 

Nay, do not men of Honour hold 

That Truth's not always to be told? 

But says the world, and be it known, 

I have an Honour of my own, 

Whose Spirit ever is awake 

Revenge, for certain wrongs, to take ; 

Whose keen impatience will not wait 

For Lawyers to accommodate : 

An insult of whatever kind, 

A blow before, a kick behind ; 

An idle word, a booby drunk, 

A quarrel for a playhouse punk. — 

— 'Tis daily seen, with all its worth, 

What Folly calls this honour forth. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 25 1 

Jack Tetchy, who for several years 
Captain had been of Volunteers ; 
And Billy Diaper, who bore 
The Colours in the self-same Corps, 
In a Cook-shop by chance had met, 
A little noon-tide prog to get. 
Jack, who look'd big, and munching stood, 
Swore that the Cheese-cakes were not good ; — 
While Billy said — they were a treat, 
The best that he had ever eat. 
' Then, Sir, you mean to say, I lie,' 
Was the impetuous, quick reply. 
1 If you should wish to take it so,' 
Says Billy, ' I shall not say no.' 
Words begat words, and threaten'd blows, 
When Jack took Billy by the nose. 
This was an insult too severe 
For a brave Soldier's pride to bear. 
'Twas Honour nam'd the following day : 
The angry Heroes both obey ; 
When, without fear of wounds or blood, 
They bravely met at Hornsey Wood. 
The Seconds now prepare the Fuel 
Which forms the Honour of a Duel : 
A Surgeon too was near the ground, 
T' extract a ball, or dress a wound. 



252 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Jack was dim-ey'd, and made a claim 
To use a glass, to aid his aim. 
— The Combatants their triggers drew ; 
The opposing Bullets instant flew ; 
A fatal Ball struck Billy's paunch, 
Ek'd out with many a Ham and Haunch 
With agony he loudly squall'd ; 
Th' expecting Doctor 's quickly call'd ; 
But, e'er he can approach the scene, 
Death had thought fit to intervene, 
And prov'd his strength : for, in a crack 
He threw fat Billy 'cross his back. 
— Alarm'd, the diffrent parties run; — 
The work of Honour now is done. 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 253 



THE BISHOP AND DEATH 

Thus are Death's mortal weapons hurl'd, 
Resistless on a prostrate world ; 
The young, the old, the grave, the gay, 
His potent summons all obey. 
But can no remedy be found 
To sooth the rancour of his wound ? 
Is Gilead of her Balm bereft, 
And frail Creation hopeless left ? 
Say, will no white-rob'd Son of Light, 
Swift darting from his Heavenly height, 
Here deign to take his hallow'd stand, 
And shed Salvation round the Land ? 
Mortals, the aid you wish is near, 
No light-clad angel need appear, 
Prophetic voice, and Gospel Grace, 
May well supply an Angel's place ; 
Yes, Gospel Truth's unerring sound, 
Has long been heard the world around ; 
And He, who will not these attend, 
Should dead men rise, or Saints descend ; 



254 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

Would still, in unbelieving mood, 
Refuse the bliss by which he 's woo'd ; 
Would not attend though rocks should speak, 
Or voice from bursting mountains break. 
'Twas the great Messenger from Heaven, 
By whom the sacred word was given, 
The Son of God's eternal Love 
Descended from the Heaven above, 
To arm frail man for combat high, 
Against his last Great Enemy ; 
To guard him in the awful strife, 
And point the way through death to life. 
Himself the arduous conflict tried, 
And rose triumphant though he died. 



His faithful followers here behold 
Amidst Death's Terrors calmly bold : 
A Prelate full of Heavenly Grace, 
High rais'd in virtue as in place ; 
One who God's people ne'er betray 'd, 
Nor practis'd other than he said. 
His early age to learning given, 
Prepar'd him for the task of Heaven : 
Science, thy thorny paths he trod, 
Through Nature's works, to Nature's God ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 255 

Till now intent on Heavenly good, 
The Spirit caught him where it would, 
And tipt his tongue with Coal of 

Fire, 
And bade the hallow'd flame aspire. 
The Holy word, by day, by night, 
At once his study and delight ; 
Anxious he weighs each verse each line, 
And human learning aids divine ; 
But not alone to study given, 
He shews, and leads the path to Heaven. 
Still, instant by the sick man's bed, 
He cheers his heart and lifts his head : 
His counsels tott'ring virtue stay, 
At his rebuke vice shrinks away. 
Such, such of old good Pastors were, 
Such Cranmer — Wilson— Latimer. 
All humbler duties duly paid, 
At last, the Mitre decks his head ; 
Still modest in his high degree, 
Still grac'd with meek humility. 
Another glory yet remains, 
And that by death the good man 

gains; 
An heavenly crown, bright heritage, 
Amid the Saints of ev'ry Age. 



256 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

What more can Heaven on man bestow, 
Or man deserve of God below ? 
Now call'd to that, devoid of fear, 
He sees the close of Life is near ; 
Religion beaming in his heart, 
He heeds not Death's impending dart : 
His faithful friend directs the way 
To regions of eternal day. 
Where then thy sting, dread tyrant, where 
The triumph to thy Pride so dear, 
Harmless thy boasted dart is found : — 
'Tis Sin gives venom to the wound. 
— The body, given him at his birth, 
Must mingle with its native earth. 
'Gainst that alone Death's darts prevail, 
Against th' immortal parts they fail : 
The fragil frame sinks to the tomb, 
There rests amid sepulchral gloom ; 
From thence, more glorious to arise, 
And join its partner in the skies ; 
No longer pain or care to know, 
Or changes that man feels below; 
But change of Bliss and Pleasure pure, 
And Peace that ever shall endure. 
— As he whose form the fiend sustain'd, 
When Eve's too easy faith he gain'd ; 



ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 257 

That beast, the subtlest of the field, 
As Winter's chilling rigours yield, 
And earth receives Spring's tepid ray, 
Casts his old Coil in Scorn away ; 
Darts from his Cave in vigour bold, 
And rears his crest of burnish'd gold, 
Renew'd with the renewing year, 
Again to droop in Autumn sear:- — 
But Man, the sleep of Death once o'er, 
Shall rise renew'd, to fall no more. 



END OF THE FIRST VOLUME 



VOL. I. — R 



INDEX TO THE FIRST VOLUME 



i. Time and Death. 

Time and Death their Thoughts impart 
On Works of Learning, and of Art 

2. The Antiquarian and Death. 

Fungus, at length, contrives to get 
Death's Dart into his Cabinet 



3. The Last Chase. 

Such mortal Sport the Chase attends : 
At Break-Neck Hill, the Hunting ends 



4. The Statesman. 

Not all the Statesman's power or Art 

Can turn aside Death's certain Dart ... .26 



5. Tom Higgins. 

His Blood is stopp'd in ev'ry Vein, 

He ne'er will eat or drink again • • • • • 33 

6. The Shipwreck. 

The Dangers of the Ocean o'er 

Death wrecks the Sailors on the Shore . . . 41 



260 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

7. The Virago. 

PAGE 

Her Tongue, and Temper to subdue ; 

Can only be perform'd by you 49 



8. The Glutton. 

What, do these sav'ry Meats delight you ? 

Be gone, and stay, till I invite you .... 58 



9. The Recruit. 

I list you, and you '11 soon be found, 

One of my Regiment, under Ground .... 63 

10. The Maiden Ladies. 

Be not alarm'd. 1 'm only come 

To choose a Wife, and light her Home .... 67 

11. The Quack Doctor. 

I have a secret Art, to cure 

Each Malady, which Men endure . . . -74 

12. The Sot. 

Drunk and alive, the Man was thine, 

But dead and drunk, why : he is mine ... 84 

13. The Honey Moon. 

When the old Fool has drank his Wine, 

And gone to rest — I will be thine . . .92 

14. The Hunter Unkennelled. 

Yes, Nimrod, you may look aghast : 

I have unkennell'd you, at last . . . . . 103 



INDEX 26l 



15. The Good Man, Death and the Doctor. 

PAGE 

No Scene so blest in Virtue's Eyes, 

As when the Man of Virtue dies 105 



16. Death and the Portrait. 

Nature and Truth are not at strife : 

Death draws his pictures after Life . . . .112 

17. The Genealogist. 

On that illumin'd Roll of Fame, 

Death waits to write your Lordship's Name . . .118 

18. The Catchpole. 

The Catchpole need not fear a Jail : 

The Undertaker is his Bail . . . . . .127 



19. The Insurance Office. 

Insure his Life. But, to your Sorrow, 

You '11 pay a good, round Sum, to-morrow . . 136 



20. The Schoolmaster. 

Death, with his Dart, proceeds to flog 

Th' astonished, flogging Pedagogue .... 144 



21. The Coquette. 

I '11 lead you to the splendid Croud : 

But your next Dress will be a Shroud . . . 152 

22. Time and Death, and Goody Barton. 

On with your dead ; and I '11 contrive 

To bury this old Fool — alive , . . . 157 



262 ENGLISH DANCE OF DEATH 

23. The Undertaker and the Quack. 

PAGI 

The Doctor's sick'ning Toil to close, 

* Recipe Coffin,' is the Dose 161 



24. The Masquerade. 

Such is the Power, and such the Strife, 

That ends the Masquerade of Life . . . .165 

25. The Death Blow. 

How vain are all your Triumphs past : 

For this Set-To will be your last 177 

26. The Vision of Skulls. 

As it appears, though dead so long, 

Each Skull is found to have a Tongue . . . .188 

. 27. The Porter's Chair. 

What watchful Care the Portal keeps ! 

A Porter He, who never sleeps ..... 199 

28. The Pantomime. 

Behold the Signal of Old Time : 

That bids you close your Pantomime .... 207 

29. The Horse Race. 

This is a very break-neck Heat ; 

And 'Squire Jockey you are beat . . . . .213 

30. The Dram Shop. 

Some find their Death by Sword and Bullet ; 

And some by Fluids, down the Gullet .... 220 



INDEX 263 

31. The Gaming Table. 

PAGE 

Whene'er Death plays, He 's sure to win : 

He '11 take each knowing Gamester in . . . . 225 



32. The Battle. 

Such is, alas, the common Story, 

Of Blood and Wounds, of Death and Glory . . . 230 



33. The Wedding. 

Plutus commands ; and to the Arms 

Of doting Age, she yields her Charms .... 237 

34. The Skaiters. 

On the frail Ice, the whirring Skait 

Becomes an Instrument of Fate ..... 246 

35. The Duel. 

Here Honour, as it is the Mode, 

Tc Death consigns the weighty Load .... 248 

36. The Bishop and Death. 

Though I may yield my forfeit Breath, 

The Word of Life defies thee, Death . . . .253 






Edinburgh : Printed by T. and A. Constable 
/ 



V5Vi